Whenever the temperature drops below 70 degrees, or sometimes when the mood hits, Tonya announces ‘It’s time for chili!’. Seriously, I think it was late August or early September when the weather cooled down just a little bit and sure enough, it was Chili Time! She really loves those beans. Tonya would be happy to have chili that’s just beans boiled in a pot but then that would be just “beans boiled in a pot”, so she adds the meat for the family….and she would eat if for all 3 meals! Except that would be weird…or would it?
Tonya makes a great regular chili with dark red kidney beans and meat, and the chili has enough spiciness to call it chili but she will crank up the heat if it’s just for us and we don’t expect company. I like to be liberal with the hot sauce and jalapenos but it’s great the way it is. Since we generally have chili a least once or twice a month from Labor Day to Memorial Day (and sometimes during the summer months…yep) it’s a good idea to alter the recipe and ingredients every once in awhile.
One of the results is chili with chicken and white beans, aka White Chicken Chili. She has perfected this recipe and it’s become a family favorite, even placing 2nd in our church chili cook-off (should have come in 1st place but the contest was rigged…c’mon fellow church members! White Chicken Chili is chili, it’s just a different color…)
The concept is simple: substitute white (cannelloni) beans for the kidney beans and use chicken instead of ground beef or sausage. There you go! There is still chili powder and other spices in the mix but a lot of the flavor comes from green salsa and/or green chilies. Oh yeah, and there is whipping cream. Say it with me: ‘Yum…whipping cream’. And the recipe is pretty easy. In fact I have made it as well and the results were well received!
White Chicken Chili
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cans cannelloni beans
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 small cans diced green chilies
3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked & diced (approximately 2 cups)
1 cup half & half
Salt/white pepper to taste
Toppings: Monterey jack cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until tender.
Add cannelloni beans, chicken broth, hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, green chilies, and diced chicken and stir until combined. Bring to a low boil and continue to simmer approximately 35-40 minutes. Stir in half & half. Serve with Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.
I really enjoyed my local (Nashville, TN) Jackalope Brewing Company’s Rompo Red Rye Ale with the White Chicken Chili. Not only does Red go with White, but The Rompo is a smooth beer with it’s own slight spiciness that doesn’t over-power the chili. Basically, beer just goes great with chili. (click on the paragraph and romp over to Jackalope’s web page)