White Chicken Chili
I am a die-hard chili fan. It’s one of my absolute favorite meals during the fall and winter, and the best excuse for inhaling embarrassing amounts of shredded cheddar cheese and Fritos. I don’t discriminate when it comes to chili… ground beef, chunks of beef, and even chicken. As long as it’s thick, hearty, and a little spicy, I’m all-in.
A few summers ago, my brother-in-law was on a chicken salad kick. To this day, it’s the best chicken salad I’ve ever had. He would blacken chicken breasts on the grill, then either cut them up or shred them, and combine them with a mixture of peppers, mayonnaise and seasonings. Seriously, SO. GOOD. When I started thinking about a chicken chili, I wanted the flavor to replicate that salad. I used a good dose of chicken, an assortment of peppers, and lots of seasoning for tons of texture and flavor.
While you can definitely grill or roast or poach your own chicken breasts for this recipe, you could also pick up a rotisserie chicken from the store for a super quick weeknight meal. That’s definitely a bonus when it comes to chicken chili versus its beef counterpart – you can have a big pot of chicken chili done and ready to eat in under an hour, while beef chili recipes typically require at least a couple of hours of cooking time.
This chili definitely has a kick to it; I would label it as moderately spicy (think “medium” when it comes to store-bought or restaurant salsa). If you prefer something milder, I would omit the cayenne in the recipe. Also, “white” chicken chili most definitely does not turn out white when you add chili powder, paprika and cayenne to it.
I love smothering my beef chili in shredded cheddar and Fritos; why should chicken be any different?! I used shredded Monterey Jack to top my chicken chili, and the Fritos were just as fabulous 🙂
This is a perfect complement to my favorite beef chili recipes; now all I need is a go-to vegetarian chili recipe, and I’m all set!
(I also need to get my brother-in-law to make me a batch of that chicken salad once it’s grilling season again!)
White Chicken Chili
A chicken chili recipe loaded with a variety of chiles, peppers, beans and, of course, chicken.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 poblano peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1½ teaspoons chili powder
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
3 (15-ounce) cans cannelini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ cup heavy cream
Monterey Jack cheese
1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the onions, peppers, cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
2. Add the flour and stir until no raw flour remains and it emits a nutty aroma, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in the chicken stock. Add 1 can of the beans and, using a potato masher, mash the beans in the pot, creating a thicker texture.
3. Stir in the remaining beans, the chicken, lime juice and remaining salt, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and warm for an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately with additional lime wedges, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro or sour cream. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.