Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yankee-fied Chili

I am a northerner, and damn proud of it. I have nothing against the people of the south, in fact I love their food with a passion only matched by 2 star-crossed Arkansas first cousins. Kidding! Well, not really but anyway...I came across a recipe for white chicken chili yesterday, and I suddenly developed an intense craving for my mom’s version of this dish. I remember how she used to make me pick over the carcasses of the chickens she would roast for dinner, one to eat and one to stew. How I would burn my fingertips because I was too impatient to let the stew bird cool down enough, and how annoying it was to spend an hour on the eat bird and only get a half cup of meat off the damn thing. She would use the stew bird to make either chicken and dumpling stew, or a fragrant, silky, delicious white chili.
Unfortunately the woman is in the middle of moving and probably wouldn’t have appreciated my phone call asking her to dig out a recipe from the mountains of boxes currently blanketing her new house. Knowing that I couldn’t fully replicate her version, I went on my own path with this one. The basic ingredients are liquid, beans, meat, and spice. As long as you have these 4 key things, the odds are good that you’ll end up with something edible.

I used a cooked grocery store rotisserie chicken to speed up the process, but you could use any cut of the bird as long as it’s around 1lb boneless or 1.5lb bone-in. Cook it any way you want except deep frying. Another way to make a "quick" chili is to use canned beans instead of dry. Cooking with dry beans usually add a full day to the process what with the soaking and rinsing and whatnot, so I tend to avoid it much to my grandmothers chagrin. In the picture you will see red potatoes, and you will notice no potatoes in the recipe, follow the recipe.

Yankee-fied White Chicken Chili

2 tbs olive oil
3 (14.5 oz) cans reduced sodium chicken stock
2 (15.5 oz) cans northern white/cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 whole rotisserie chicken meat removed and shredded (or equivalent 1lb chicken meat)
1 medium onion diced
3 carrots cleaned and sliced (optional)
1 ½ cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
3 cloves garlic crushed or diced
1 jalapeño seeds removed and diced small
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup cheddar or Mexican blend cheese shredded
1 tbs cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot (3 quart or larger) over medium-low heat.

Add the onion and carrot and cook until onion has softened, about 5 minutes, do not brown.

Add the garlic and jalapeño and continue to cook for another 3 minutes until very fragrant.

Pour in the chicken stock, beans and spices and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes add the corn and cooked chicken and simmer another 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and add the cream and cheese and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve with sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.

Note: if you want a thicker final product (recipe results in loose stew) you could mash ½ cup of the beans by hand or in the blender and add to the pot when adding the stock and remaining beans. Or cook a rouxe (1/4 cup each of butter and flour cooked over low heat for 5 minutes), add a cup of stock, combine well and add to pot with beans and remaining stock.

No comments: