Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Chili

I don't know if it's the chill in the air, or the fact that I started talking about it last week, or the sudden nostalgic streak that seems to be affecting me recently, but last night I made more chili. When I was in high school, I worked at a restaurant in Minneapolis that made the most amazing white chicken chili soup. I consumed a small bowl of it during every one of my shifts. I distinctly remember wondering if I should try to get the recipe, but I think every 18-year-old has some genetic quality that makes them think they don't really need to plan for the future - that everything they need will somehow always be there for them - which prevented me from actually asking for it.

Fortunately I think I have duplicated it successfully, to the best of my memory. Even if I am way off on the original ingredients, it sure tastes good anyway.

Recipe for Creamy White Chicken Chili:
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can of white kidney (cannellini) beans, drained
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced, seeds removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup of chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite light-colored beer
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Fresh chopped cilantro - about 2 tbsp to stir in, plus more for garnish
  • Generous pinch (or about 6 sprinkles) of cumin
  • Generous pinch (or about 6 sprinkles) of paprika
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese for garnish

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Sweat for a couple of minutes, then add the chicken. Pour the lime juice over the chicken and season with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook the chicken, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, cannellini beans, and beer, and stir to combine. Bring the heat to high. When the pot starts to boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream, and simmer for an additional few minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Check seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve garnished with cheese and cilantro.

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