Thursday, February 3, 2011

White Chicken Chili

With the North East in the middle of one of the worst winters in memory, its no surprise that hearty, warm soups are being requested more often. For me, it seems like I can barely go a day without having a soup of some kind! New Jersey is pretty much know for its diners - often open all night and serving up what generally is pretty close to homemade comfort food. Diners are not really know for bending to the newest food trend, classics like tuna melts, greek salads and even meatloaf are the staples of these places served with a cup of their homemade soups and a scoop of pudding for dessert. But that is their charm - no matter what diner you do to you almost don't need a menu because you know what they hasn't changed in probably 50 years!

I recently had a delicious bowl of chili at the Windsor Diner in Clark, NJ and I just couldn't stop thinking about it for days. It was everything that a bowl of chili should be...and came with ample sour cream and salsa on the side so you could dress it up as you wished. This White Chicken Chili on the other hand, is pretty much the complete opposite! While it is delicious, warming and comforting it is more delicate rather than hitting you over the head with a hunk of ground beef. I have tried other recipes before but this was a new one for me and I think that it came out really well. I used my 7.5Q dutch oven to make the chili and let it cook in there for a few hours in the oven to really marry the flavors together. It was a little more soupy than my other attempt but I actually liked it and felt it had more flavor... use a bit less chicken broth if you would prefer a more stew/chili appearance.

click through for the recipe! 

White Chicken Chili
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs - cut into 1" cubes
3 cans canellini beans - strained and rinsed 
2 carrots - diced
2 celery stalks - diced
1/2 white onion - diced
1/2 green pepper - diced
10 grape tomato - sliced in half
3 scallions - diced
1 box chicken broth (reduce to 2 c if you prefer thicker texture)
1 c half and half
1/4 c cilantro
2 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c mexican blend cheese
2 tbsp chives
2 tbsp cilantro 

1) Heat oil in 7.5Q dutch oven
2) Season chicken cubes with salt and pepper and place into the hot oil -after 3 min stir to brown evenly 
3) Add the diced carrots, celery, onions and pepper to the dutch oven and saute
4) Once softened, add the spices and stir to combine
5) Add the beans, scallions and tomatoes - allow to heat through
6) Remove from stovetop, add box of chicken broth and then place in 350 F oven for 1-3 hrs
7) About 30 min before serving, add half and half and cilantro to soup, stir to combine and place back in oven (if it is too thin you can leave lid off)
8) When ready to serve, add a scoop of sour cream, some cheese, cilantro and chives to soup and serve