Sunday Supper: White Bean Chicken Chili

In an attempt to continue to expand my culinary horizons, I’m challenging myself to try a new recipe each week.
I’ll relate my triumphs and failures here, just in time for your Sunday supper.
food collage

The weather here in South Carolina isn’t cold yet by any stretch of the imagination—in fact, someone from a different region of the country would find our recent temperatures positively balmy. But still, the leaves are changing, if you leave the windows open overnight you’ll wake up freezing, and the wind is getting that tinge of briskness that means winter is around the corner. So my recent spate of soup recipes isn’t completely crazy—I’m just a little ahead of schedule.

Just so ya know: This recipe is not a quick one. Between prepping the beans and simmering the chili, we’re looking at about 3 hours. This recipe would be perfect for a snow day or a sick day– any day with a lot of around-the-house time. It takes a while, but your time actually in the kitchen is roughly about as long as it takes to chop an onion. I imagine one could adapt this for the crockpot rather easily, but I’m not terribly confident with that concept yet, so that’s a project for another day. (Leave me a message in the comments if you have any tips about that!)

As for me, while my White Bean Chicken Chili is simmering (and smelling so good I’m not sure if I can wait), I’ll be sitting at my kitchen table, reviewing notes and trying to figure out exactly what I have to say about the Victorian supernatural. Jealous, aren’t ya?

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb of dry white beans (Great Northern, Navy, whatever you have)
  • 1 lb of chicken (I’m using chicken thighs, because that’s what I have. Something boneless would be easier. Use whatever.)
  • 5 cups chicken stock (I’m using the powdered kind because I haven’t had room in my freezer for fresh lately. Use what you have.)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can chopped green chilies
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • (optional but recommended): tortilla chips and shredded cheese

Here’s what you do:

First of all, this recipe uses dried beans, so a little prep is necessary. I soaked them overnight in the fridge, because I knew I planned to cook this today. (Empty entire bag into large bowl, cover with 2-3 inches of water, discard anything that floats, rinse well in morning.) If you forgot to soak them last night, there’s a quicker method, but it still takes about an hour—read about it here.

Once the beans are prepped—soaked and rinsed—bring 5 cups of chicken stock and beans to a boil in a large pot. 

In a separate sauce pan, melt 2 tbsp butter and sauté chopped onion, minced garlic and chopped chilies for about 5 minutes. 11.6.11 004

Add sautéed mixture to boiling beans.

Add chicken and remaining spices (oregano, cumin, pepper, pepper flakes) to boiling beans. 11.6.11 010

Turn stove heat down to medium, cook for about 60 minutes, stirring every now and then. Shred chicken when possible (after about half an hour). Chili is done when beans are to your liking. Top with cheese, serve with tortilla chips for scooping. 11.6.11 012

This is some seriously hearty chili. It’s good—I don’t think it is displacing my favorite chili, but it’ll definitely get made again. Next time, I think I’ll play with the proportions a little—either use fewer beans (maybe down to 3/4 of a bag or so) or increase the liquid base—I think it would be better with more liquid and less beans. All in all, though, I think this is a success: It’s very tasty, spicy but not overly so, and just what I need to keep me moving through this stack of books.

And what’s simmering in your kitchen today?

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