White Chicken Chili

I am very happy these days. Why? Because football season is upon us once again. Football is my favorite, favorite sport. And fall is my favorite, favorite season. Here in New York, we’re already getting some fall(ish) weather. The temperatures have certainly dropped into the low 70’s and 60’s. We’re running the air conditioner much less frequently and keeping the windows open. However, the leaves are still very green and our rainy period hasn’t yet begun. So I think this is still a precursor to fall, and that it hasn’t quite legitimately arrived, which explains why we are still grilling and not yet making much in the way of soup or stew.

That does not stop me from making chili though. Chili is one of my faves, and, with few exceptions (Hurricane Irene!) I don’t make it in the summer. So by the time September rolls around, I’m really craving it in some form. It seemed appropriate to make some chili for the NFL season opener, especially since my team, the Dallas Cowboys, was playing the New York Giants (a team I never root for, despite living here). The Cowboys winning made this chili taste that much better!

White Chicken Chili (sometimes called Blond Chicken Chili), which is simply chili that uses white beans instead of the usual kidney or black beans, is probably offensive to some Texans, considering that true Texas chili uses beef and does NOT contain beans. My confession here is that I don’t mind beans in my chili. I grew up having it that way, seeing as I mostly ate my mom’s and grandmother’s chili, and neither of them are native Texans. I have a huge appreciation for proper Texas chili and I love to make it. It’s just that I won’t have a conniption if I see a chili recipe with beans. That’s all!

I have searched for a good recipe for a long while now, and so far haven’t found any that were exactly what I was looking for. So, duh, just make your own, Julie! I’m pleased to report this turned out beautifully. It was just spicy enough for me, with a slow building heat. You can always cut back on the chiles if you prefer.

Olive oil
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
¼ cup cumin
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp oregano
Salt and Pepper
4 jalapenos, seeded and minced
Medium onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bottle of beer
5-6 hatch or Anaheim or poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
10 tomatillos, husked and chopped
2 (15 oz.) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbs masa harina
A few dashes of hot sauce, such as Cholula
Garnishes: shredded white Cheddar or Monterey jack; crumbled Cotija or queso fresco; minced cilantro; sour cream; diced avocado; lime wedges; crushed tortilla chips

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Drizzle in some olive oil, then add the chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until it’s mostly cooked. Add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and toast up the spices. Add the jalapenos, onion, and garlic. Stir to combine and let them cook out for about 7 minutes, until they are nicely softened.
Deglaze the pan with the beer. Stir with your spoon to make sure all the tasty browned bits have been scraped up. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the hatch chiles, the tomatillos, and the beans. Let simmer for at least 1 hour, preferably 90 minutes, until the tomatillos have almost melted into the chili. If your chili is becoming too dry, add water or chicken stock to help it along. You probably won’t need to take this step though. 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, stir in the masa and the hot sauce. Let the masa cook for about 15 minutes on low heat, making sure you thoroughly stir it in.
Serve in individual bowls with the garnishes of your choice.

5 responses to “White Chicken Chili

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