Crisp autumn evenings are perfect for a big bowl of chili. It is nice to shake things up though, so instead of a traditional tomato based chili I recently started making white chili. Someone mentioned it once at a PTO meeting and I thought DUH, why haven’t I ever made that before?!
This is the perfect meal for me. The beans are high fiber and protein. Unlike regular chili there are no tomato products so less heartburn. Yeah!! Not only is it one of my new favorites, but the kiddos like it too. Most recently it was our packed dinner for the gym on a swim night.
I prefer to use dried beans for several reasons. First, they take up less space in my pantry. A pound of dried beans is much smaller than multiple cans of beans. Dried beans also look prettier in glass jars versus in a can. Plus I like the idea of knowing there is nothing added to the beans like salt or preservatives. If this isn’t your thing, go ahead and use 3-4 cans of beans.
As with every other soup I make, I rarely make it the same every time. This is the framework, by all means change things up to suit your mood and taste. I’ve used many methods to thickening soups, this time I chose cream cheese. You could also use a can of refried beans, heavy cream, sour cream or Greek yogurt. You can also remove a third of the beans once they are cooked and purée them with an immersion blender and add it back in.
There are also many spice levels. Feel free to throw in a jalapeño or other hot pepper. I didn’t this time as two of the boys were still traumatized from a run in with the garden peppers over the weekend! Cook up a pot and warm yourself up from the inside.
White Chicken Chili
1 lb. dried navy beans
2 c. shredded chicken
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
4 oz. can diced green chiles
4 c. chicken stock
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. chipotle powder
Salt to taste
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
Garnish ideas: Tortilla strips, shredded cheese, lime slice, avocado slice, cilantro, sour cream
Place the beans in a large bowl with eight cups water and soak overnight. Drain the beans and put in a large pot with six cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour.
Add everything but the cream cheese. Cover and continue to simmer for thirty minutes. Add the cream cheese, simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until cheese is melted.
Pour into bowls and garnish as desired.
Yields 10 servings