White Chicken Chili

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This semester has been absolutely hectic and my absence from blogging has been weighing on me.  I apologize to those of you who follow and read my musings and recipes; hopefully this delightful and hearty soup will make up for my inability to keep more than a few plates spinning at the same time.

We’ve entered Autumn in the midwest; my favorite season.  The air gets crisp and clean, the windows are open, and the sweaters have been unpacked.  I love baking and cooking during this season, as it lends itself to some of my favorite recipes: roast chicken, shepherd’s pie, chicken noodle soup, lasagna and chili.

Recently I was craving the latter, but was also craving a change.  Rather than go with the usual tomato-based chili with pinto, black, and kidney beans, I opted for simplicity: chicken thighs and cannellini beans.

If you’re so inclined, you can make this with ground chicken, but Scott and I prefer a more robust chicken chill, which is why thighs were chosen.  Also, as with most chili, you can decrease or increase the spice level based on your personal preference.  Add in a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, or perhaps chop up a jalapeño and add it to the pot with the onion and bell pepper.  If you’re not interested in using white wine in the soup, omit it and replace it with chicken stock.  Really, this chili is so flexible, so quick and easy, and so delicious that you’ll want to make it more than once just to experiment!

White Chicken Chili

Adapted from Sara Moulton’s recipe

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped

1 jalapeño, cored, seeded and chopped (optional – if you want it spicier!)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 medium cloves)

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup white wine (optional – I used Sauvignon Blanc)

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 cans (4 1/2 ounces each) chopped green chilies

1/2 cup sour cream

Serve with chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, and a squeeze of lime, if desired.

Method:

Add oil to a Dutch oven or soup pot set over medium heat.  When oil shimmers, add onion, bell pepper, jalapeño (if using), salt and pepper and cook stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5-6 minutes.  If the onions start to brown, turn the heat down a bit.

Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is barely pink, roughly 8-10 minutes.

Add garlic, chili powder, flour, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until the flour is no longer visible.  Add the white wine and the broth, whisking.  Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Allow soup to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, us a fork to mash up 1 cup of the beans.  Add both the whole and mashed beans to the pot and allow it to simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Stir in the green chilies.  Stir in the sour cream and cook until hot.  Taste and adjust flavors with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, and a squeeze of lime, if desired.

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