Where to start, where to start? It’s a new year, as you all know. The time where we typically try to reinvent ourselves into the better, kinder, thinner person we think we ought to be. We all know how that usually turns out. I have some wishes for this new year myself. I don’t know about you, but I think 2010 was a tough year. When I look back, I see all these high points, some new friends, some new places, I got to see my family a bit more and Prince Charming still holds my hand. Good huh? I think so. For some reason though, when I think of last year I think it was a struggle and felt relieved that it was over with. So, it is with hope and wishes that I start 2011. I hope that we are all surrounded by the ones we love, our tables are filled with smiling, happy people eating and drinking. I wish that we all look back on this year with a smile. Oh, yeah, and world peace. I want world peace.
What has that to do with White Chicken Chili? Not one thing. I was faced with the first post of the new year and decided to smush them together. The only resemblance White Chicken Chili has to traditional red chili is the word “chili”. Red chili is in your face flavor. It can light you up like a firecracker with heat or slowly build and burn you for hours. Red chili has the time to build layers of flavors, and depending on the maker and the region, ingredients that differ as much as there are ways to put them together. Now, White Chicken Chili is a whole ‘nother thing. A distant cousin of red. A quieter, softer, more pinky finger in the air sort of cousin. Good stuff, tho’, good stuff. Yes, it’s made with cream (well, half n half) but you can get some serious heat in there if you choose, so before you turn your nose up and think it’s the wimpy stuff, give it a try. Just might surprise you. Oh, and it’s National Soup month, so I hear. Who thinks these up? So this is a New Year’s post, a regular recipe post, and a National Soup month post….nice..a triple score for sure!
White Chicken Chili
1-1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken (I used breast meat)
2 cans white beans (great northern or cannellini)
1 large onion, chopped finely
6 tbls. unsalted butter
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 cup of chicken broth
2 cups half n’ half
1 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbls. hot sauce
3 tbls. jalapeno hot sauce (the green one)
2 4-oz cans chopped green chilies, I use mild, but if you like it, go for the hot.
Cut the chicken meat into small pieces, just a rough chop is fine. Season them with salt & pepper, cayenne and cumin. Saute in a skillet with a tsp. of oil until cooked through. Remove from pan to either a plate or bowl.
In the same skillet, melt 2 tbls. of butter and add onions. Cook until soft and translucent. Add to the chicken waiting to go into the pot.
In a heavy pot, large enough to hold all the ingredients, melt remaining 4 tbls of butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Whisk constantly, for three or four minutes, but you don’t want it to brown. Gradually add the broth and half and half, whisking the whole time. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add all the remaining ingredients as well as the chicken and onions and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Taste, adjust seasonings as you see fit.
Serve with any garnishes you like: cilantro, cheese, jalapeno, tomatoes, sour cream, finely chopped raw vegetables. My personal fav with this chili is just jalapeno and cilantro.
As with almost any chili, this is great the next day.