Sunday, December 23, 2012

Recipe 17: White Lightning Chili

White Lightning Chili
For a long time, I've been craving an alternative chili.  When I got caught in a snow storm in the Berkshires a few weeks back, it was, frankly, all I could think about (besides not skidding off the road, duh).  But it took a few weeks longer to make it happen, which left a lot of time to research the multitude of recipes out there for white chili.  There are a lot of options - meat, no meat, different types of meat, certain types of beans, cornmeal, no cornmeal, etc.  

I took a few recipes that I liked the look of (The Pioneer Woman, Cooking Light), and hybridized them.  The resulting recipe is pretty good - but I'm open to suggestions.  I've never had white chili before, so I'm not sure what, if anything else I'd like to add.  Maybe adding the hot sauce directly to the soup while cooking?  Maybe some acidity in the form of lime?  Actually, next time I make this, that's happening.  Let me know what you think, and what angle you take on this white lightning flash in your Le Creuset pan. 

White Lightning Chili in a Le Creuset

White Lightning Chicken Chili
Serves 6-8

Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves minced or through a press
1 poblano pepper, diced
2 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles
2 lb chicken (breasts, tenderloins, etc)
15 oz can white kidney beans - rinsed
15 oz can great northern beans - rinsed
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
5-6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
2 Tbsp cornmeal


In a large saucepan, cover the chicken with water.  Bring to a boil and let cook 15-20 minutes until just cooked.  Remove and roughly chop into bite sized pieces, reserving in a bowl for later.
In a large Dutch oven or Le Creuset, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic and sauté until just softening, and beginning to take on a golden hue, approximately 5-6 minutes.
Add poblano, green chiles (use whole cans, do not drain), and spices (cumin through paprika) to the pot and stir to incorporate.  Saute 3 minutes.
Add jalapeno, chicken and beans.  Saute to incorporate, approximately 3 minutes.
Add 5 cups of broth to the pot, stir, and let simmer for 45 mintues.  Before the next step, taste, and season accordingly.  You  may need to add more broth at this point (depending on how soupy vs. stew-y you’d prefer your soup to be) – keeping in mind that you don’t want it to get too salty.  Don’t be afraid to add water and no salt to dilute if you need to!
Add cornmeal, stir, and cook 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste again, and adjust seasoning to your preference.  Don’t be afraid to up the spices!
Serve, dressed as you’d like it to be.  I liked mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt, some sharp cheddar, a hearty squirt of sriracha, a cold beer, etc.  Do it up, kids.  

PS.  Boiled chicken looks gross, guys. 

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