December 03, 2010

Southwestern White Chili, Times Two

For a long time now - like, probably about 12 years - I've been using the following white chili recipe.

Jeffrey's Southwestern White Chili

2      tablespoons olive oil
3      pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1      large onion, chopped fine
1      tablespoon minced garlic
2      cans (four ounces) chopped green chilis
2      teaspoons ground cumin
1      teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2   teaspoon dried cilantro
2      cans (fourteen ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
1/4   teaspoon cayenne pepper
4      cans (fifteen ounces) cannellini, undrained
        shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and cilantro to garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and onions; saute until no more pink is visible on the chicken.

Add garlic, green chilis, spices and chicken broth to chicken mixture.  Simmer fifteen minutes, then stir in beans.  Simmer 5-10 minutes and serve with cheddar and cilantro as garnish, if desired.


This recipe makes a pretty darn good white chili, but I recently realized that I've learned a lot about cooking since I started using that recipe, and that I could do several things to make it better.   As it happens, Juli's workplace is doing a soup and chili lunch today to raise money for the Toys for Tots program.  I was more than glad to cook up something for the fundraiser, both to support a great cause and because it gave me a reason to revise my white chili recipe and try it out.  So, I did exactly that last night.

I'm happy to report that the revised recipe worked out great.  The addition of more vegetables, including more and better chilis, gave it a richer flavor, while the mashed beans gave it a thick yet smooth texture.   It's a better chili, and this version will be replacing my old recipe.

Jeffrey's Improved Southwestern White Chili

3       tablespoons canola oil
2       medium onions, chopped fine
4       carrots, peeled and chopped
3       celery stalks, chopped
1       poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
1       jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1       tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped + more for garnish
1       tablespoon minced garlic
2       teaspoons ground cumin
1       teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/4    teaspoon cayenne chili
1/8    teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
32     ounces low-sodium chicken broth
3/4    teaspoons salt
3       pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
5       cans (fifteen ounce) cannellini, undrained
         shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream to garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium to medium-high heat.  Add onions, carrots and celery.  Saute 5 minutes, then add poblano and jalapeno peppers and chopped cilantro and saute an additional 5 minutes.  Push the vegetables to the sides of the pot and add the garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne and black pepper.  Cook 1 minute, then add the chicken and saute until there is no pink showing on the chicken.  Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  

Add four cans of the cannellini directly from the can, then mash the contents of the fifth can of cannellini and stir the mashed beans into the chili.  Bring back to a simmer and simmer 5 minutes.  Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream and additional cilantro as garnish, if desired.

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