white bean and chicken chili.

February 17, 2014 § 2 Comments

I’ve been living in Northeast Ohio now for a little over five months.  In the late summer and early fall, I worried a lot about what winter would be like in the snow belt, especially considering I drive a little (cute) Honda Fit.  So far, I’ve only had one or two truly scary commutes to work and my car’s doing better than I expected.  The constant brutal cold temps and the seemingly constant snow showers have started to wear on me, but I kinda think that about half our country is in the same boat.

In the past, I’ve struggled to stay positive through winter.  I miss the sunshine and being about to jog and hike outdoors without freezing my nose and toes.  I have to say, I’ve surprised myself this winter.  I do have a strong partner in Ty; I guess I’ll give him some (tons) of the credit for keeping my spirits up.  As much as I loved living in Columbus, I also love living here.  It really is a beautiful place, even snow-covered.

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I took these photos on the coldest day in Cleveland in 20 years.  Wind chills reached -35 below.

(-35 is not beautiful.  In case you were wondering.)

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Needless to say, this is optimal time for chili cooking.  I’ve been churning through a list of different recipes to figure out which ones we like the best.  This was one of the first I made:  quick white bean and chicken chili.  I have a clipping of this recipe that my mom gave me from The Columbus Dispatch a few years ago.  The article is titled, “Quick chili stands out as gift,” and says the chili is ready in “20 minutes flat.”  I agree: This is a perfect recipe to double and serve to family and friends.  It also comes together really fast.

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White Bean and Chicken Chili

Adapted from The Columbus Dispatch editors

What you need:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 can (15 oz.) great northern beans
  • 1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) green chilies (mild or hot, depending on your taste)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (14 oz.) fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 1/2 C shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (optional garnish)
  • 1/4 C reduced-fat sour cream (optional garnish)

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What to do:

When I make this chili, I prepare all my ingredients first.  Peel and chop the onion.  Peel and mince the garlic.  Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Rinse and drain all of your beans, and drain the chiles.  Ready?

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large nonstick soup pot.  Add your chopped onion to the pot, and stir to prevent sticking.  Now add the chicken and garlic.  Stir occasionally and allow the chicken to cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add your corn, beans, and chilies to the pot.  Then add the chicken broth, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  Increase the heat to high.  Cover the pot, and allow the chili to come to a boil.

While the chili is cooking, mix the cornstarch and water in a small plastic container with a lid.  Shake well!

Add the cornstarch mixture to the chili a scoop at a time, stirring constantly to blend it in.  Continue to let the chili boil until it reaches the thickness you prefer.  Remove the chili from heat when you’re ready to serve.

Top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of cheese.

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Easy, satisfying chili!

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Some notes:

This recipe will serve 2-3 very hungry people.  I would double or triple the recipe for company, particularly if you want leftovers.

The chili freezes well.

If you prefer, you could cook your chicken breasts in the oven ahead of time and shred for the soup.  Other options would be to use frozen chicken strips, like Tyson makes, or a rotisserie chicken.

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I love stirring in the sour cream and cheese.  So yummy.

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