White Bean Chicken Chili

>> Sunday, January 5, 2014

White Bean Chicken Chili

Oh my, it's cold here in Illinois. It's two little degrees in Chicago, and they're saying that tomorrow will be about -10 F. I know there are much colder places in the world, but this shivers my timbers.

Time for a hot bowl of thick and spicy white bean chili. Chili in general is just about as flexible as a martini - you can add pretty much anything and still call it what it is. So if you don't have any white beans, throw in kidney beans or cannelinis or pintos - whatever you like. We like an extra bite of spice, so scale it back if spicy is hard on you.

This chili is great for using leftover cooked chicken or turkey, browned ground chicken, or even canned chicken if you're in a hurry. If you're not in a hurry, throw it all in a crockpot and go snowshoeing or ice fishing or some other winter-loving sport. Or you know, just cluster around the heating vents until it gets warmer.


2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 ancho pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic
2/3 cup diced onion
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 14-oz can white beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound chicken or turkey
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste


1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
2/3 cup shredded colby-jack cheese (optional)


If you're using raw meat, cut it into bite-size pieces and saute with 1 tbsp of oil in a large saucepan. Set aside. Heat the 2 tbsp of oil and add the red pepper flakes and ancho pepper. Cook on low heat until the ancho is flexible. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook until translucent.

Stir in the remaining ingredients except toppings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour. Taste and correct the seasonings. Serve topped with the cilantro and cheese if you like. We ate this with a big loaf of cheesy pull-apart garlic bread. I'm embarrassed to say that we ate the entire loaf, but it is so very delicious, and we're fighting heavy weather here, folks.

Cheesy pull-apart garlic bread

If I had any sweet green chilies, cornbread with chilies would have been my preference. Chili and corn bread are like peanut butter and jelly, right?

Cornbread with sweet green chillies

The White Bean Chicken Chili serves 4-6.


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