Wednesday, February 20, 2013

White Chicken Chili

Vacation.  The word sounds unfamiliar.  Only a few short weeks until we escape the cold Chicago winter and find ourselves on the west coast, pale white arms and legs blinding the locals.  It will be a much needed break, even if we have to fly with a 9-month old.  And the car seat.  And the stroller.  And the pack-n-play.  Add a suitcase and a couple backpacks in there too.  How many times can one eat In-N-Out in a week?

Are you stuck in the doldrums of winter and need something different?  A deviation from the usual chili?  How about this white chicken version, completely non-tomato based.  Spring training is in full swing, pun intended, so there's only a few weeks left of chilly weather to make tasty winter dishes like this chili.  Two days into Cubs' camp, and the #1 pitcher is already getting an MRI for a pulled muscle and put on the shelf for a few days.  Yup, that sounds about right.  It's not easy to play for 105 years and avoid winning the whole shebang. 

Let me say this again, here is a great example of a recipe that will benefit from homemade chicken stock.  I made a double batch of this recipe, which required a few mason jars worth of stock from the freezer.  Buying a couple rotisserie chickens for the meat, I froze the leftover carcasses ready for the next batch of stock to replenish my supply.  There aren't too many ingredients in this meal, so by using good quality stuff you're guaranteed to end up with delicious results. 

White Chicken Chili
6 servings

1 large yellow onion or 2 medium, diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
6 C chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium store bought
6 C canned white beans (cannellini or great northern)
4 oz canned green chilis
2 ts ground cumin
2 ts dried oregano
1/4 ts cayenne powder
4 C cooked chicken, diced (about one 2.5 lb roasted chicken)
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
3 C shredded monterey jack cheese
1 jalapeno or serrano, thinly sliced, seeded or not, completely optional
tortilla chips, oyster crackers, saltines, completely optional

Fire up a big ass cast-iron dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.  Add a few TB's of olive oil, saute the onion until soft but not browned, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic for 60 seconds, stirring.

Introduce the chicken stock and increase the heat to bring to a boil.  Add the beans, green chilis, seasonings, and cooked chicken.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper, simmer over low heat for an hour.  

After about sixty minutes, your entire house should smell awesome and that means it is time to eat.  Serve topped with a good bit of freshly shredded monterey jack cheese, maybe a bit of thinly sliced peppers if that's your thang, perhaps some crackers or chips.  Jalapeno cheddar cornbread too? 

My double batch in mason jars, ready to barter for some babysitting....

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