Jun 13, 2010

White Chicken Chili

A bowl of delicious white chicken chili

We first started making white chicken chili about a year ago. Chili is a tricky meal I feel because everybody has a different way they prefer the dish. My mom for instance, she’s from Cincinnati and their chili is in a class of its own with the unique addition of noodles and crackers. Well this is another version of chili that stands alone for a couple of different reasons. First, the most obvious: there’s not a single tomato in it! Two: There’s no ground meat! What is used in place of those two typical chili ingredients creates a meal that is comforting, delicious and a refreshing twist on the original chili meal. The other fantastic thing about this dinner is that it falls into the category I like to call a one pot wonder! There’s no faster meal than those that require a little bit of chopping and then simmering all in one pot. Couldn’t get much easier to cook or to clean so really it’s a double win!

This is what you’ll need:


  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 12 ounce can of cannellini beans
  • 1.5 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • cracked pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green onions (optional)
  • crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Cheddar or Monterey Cheese (optional)

The best thing to start with is the chicken. We like to bake the chicken because it keeps the meat moist and is an easy clean up. Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Just put the chicken on there and drizzle a little olive oil on them to keep them from drying out. You want to add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder if you’d like to both sides of the chicken. This just gives the chicken some added flavor. These usually take about 20-25 minutes to cook in the oven but make sure you don’t leave them in there too terribly long because they’ll dry out.

So while the chicken is baking you can actually get the rest of the meal together. You want to use a large pot for this meal and you can start by allowing about a tablespoon of olive oil to warm up on medium heat in the pot. Chop up your onion and then add that to the warm olive oil. You want to let the onion saute for about 4-5 minutes, until they start becoming clear and make sure to push them around once in awhile so they don’t burn to the bottom. Next up is the garlic. You don’t have to mince the garlic clove, a rough chop is fine, and just add that to the onion. Now you’re ready to add your chopped up yellow pepper and jalapeño pepper to the pot. Let all this cook for another 4 minutes and let the peppers cook through a bit. Once you feel like everything looks good and you’re starting to tell yourself how good your kitchen smells, it’s time to add the chicken broth and then the cannellini beans.

It should be about at this point that the chicken is just about done. You can chop the chicken up into bite sizes and then add that to the pot. And that’s it! You can just let things simmer and let the flavor build! Here’s what you get:

White chicken chili in the works! All the ingredients have been added at this point and your kitchen should smell wonderful right about now!

The longer you let things simmer, the more flavor that usually accumulates. However, sometimes, actually a lot of the time, I don’t have an hour to let a soup simmer unless it’s on the weekends. In that case, this is another reason why this is  a great week night meal. You’ve got such fresh and flavorful ingredients that you can sit down to eat this pretty much five minutes after you’ve added the chicken. It’s still going to be delicious without the hour long wait!

Once you are ready to plate you can add a few last minute finishing touches. Green onions, crushed red pepper and some freshly grated cheese always make an appearance in our finished chicken chili. Both sharp white cheddar cheese and Monterey jack work great with the meal!

Like every other meal of mine, there has to be some sort of good bread to accompany the main dish. For this meal we often make homemade crackers that can be put together in the same amount of time as the chicken chili itself. You can check out the recipe under the bread category!

Chicken chili for two, with homemade crackers on the side!

So there you have it, a one pot wonder that is a great alternative to your run of the mill chili. As always, I try to share super fast, easy and tasty meals to save you time but also please your stomach! There are definitely nights when we just don’t feel like cooking. But, after the long days the comfort of a home cooked meal is actually the thing I crave most. So when you feel like you’re having one of those days, put together a one pot wonder, such as white chicken chili and I bet that by the time you’re done with a bowl you’ll be thanking yourself for putting in some cooking time in the kitchen! For now, that’s white chicken chili…in the shell of a nut!

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