Chicken,  Mexican,  Recipes,  Soup

White Chicken Chili

I LOVE white chicken chili! It has all the tasty, slightly spicy complexity of beef chili without all that heaviness and the stick to the ribs element. Like every other soup or chili this meal just gets better after a day or so in the fridge, and it freezes great. My version builds a complex yet healthy base from poblano chilis and onions sautéed along with lots of garlic, cumin and coriander. I utilize the Indian technique of “blooming” spices, which simply means adding spices to hot oil and letting the flavors intensify. I use this technique almost daily in cold weather – it is an invaluable tool in developing deep layers of flavor in all types of soups, stews and braises.

My kids do not like soup, all three have a genuine HORROR of foods that are all mixed together – casseroles are their worst nightmare – so they loathe soup. And you know what? They are such great eaters – they will try any protein or vegetable and they love all types of flavors, that I just LET IT GO. I don’t even make them try soup. In the future I know I will re-introduce, but for now we are good. Both my boys have mild Aspergers and food textures have always been challenging for them. My daughter is typical, but come on, why would she like a whole category of food her brothers detest? So, I make this recipe for me and Jeff. What to do with the leftovers? I buy lots of Chinese food take out pints (a great tip picked up from Ted Allen’s In My Kitchen) and freeze big batches of soup for future lunches and dinners.

White Chicken Chili
Author: Kate Wagner
Serves: Makes 2 batches, each serving 6-8
I like some thickness in my chili, and find you can add it in two ways. One – you can puree some of the cannellini beans like I did (my ratio is half pureed, half left whole). Two – you can swap out some of the shredded chicken breast for ground chicken. Or you can simply opt for more of a soup texture and enjoy the soup as is. If you want to go chunkier, either of these techniques works great. Happy cooking!
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil
  • 3 Poblano chiles, minced (remove ribs and seeds to lessen the heat)
  • 3 Onions, yellow, medium, minced
  • 8 tsp Minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp Ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp Ground coriander
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 (15 oz) Cannellini beans, drained and half of the beans pureed (optional)
  • 5 – 6 cups Chicken, shredded
  • 6 cups Chicken broth, low sodium
  • Sour cream, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño and lime slices are all delicious accompaniments.
  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Poblano chiles and onions and stir to coat with oil. Sauté over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. Add minced garlic, cumin, coriander and Kosher salt to the pot and stir to combine. Continue to cook, allowing the spices to “bloom” (that’s a technique used in Indian cooking to intensify the flavor of spices) for 2-3 more minutes.
  3. Add beans, chicken and stock to the pot and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. (At this step you can also utilize your slow cooker, see my instructions below)
  4. Remove from heat and serve immediately. You can also cool the chili and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
I love to use my slow cooker once I have my flavor base built. If you are choosing to use your slow cooker you don’t need to get out your Dutch oven, just use a large skillet. Once I combine all of the ingredients in the slow cooker, I set it to LOW for 4 hours. Using the slow cooker for a nice low and slow cooking period really allows the flavors to deepen and intensify.


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