As the darkness creeps in earlier each day and the temperature drops, we turn to heartier fare we can curl up with to shield against the chilly winter weather. The kind of comfort food that fills us with the warm embrace of the Holiday Season. White Chicken Chili has been on my list of recipes to try for a long while now and as the seasons roll by, I’ve never had the ingredients on hand until now. Typically, it’s considered more of a summer chili, lighter in color as well as ingredients, however this version is not by any means what I would consider light summer fare. I couldn’t find one recipe that combined all the elements I wanted to incorporate, so I used two different versions as a guideline to achieve my desired outcome.
Traditionally, White Chicken Chili derives it’s name from its specific color palette consisting of green bell peppers, green chilies and white beans. Since I had a red bell pepper, a red jalapeño and red beans on hand our bowls were filled with the colors of Christmas, red and green. I’ve lovingly dubbed it White Christmas Chili, and after you’ve had it, you’ll be dreaming of it too!
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 jalapeño, diced (seeds and veins removed)
- 1/4 cup white wine or stock (optional)
- 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 small can diced green chiles
- 1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 15 oz. can light red beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 Tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 Tsp. cayenne
- 1 Tsp. cumin
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 Tsp. Lawrys Chipotle Cinnamon Rub (optional)
- 1 generous Tbsp. fresh parsley
- Salt, Pepper & Seasoned Salt
- Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the salt, freshly cracked black pepper and seasoned salt. Drizzle olive oil on both sides and bake for 25 minutes until no longer pink in the middle. Shred chicken by hand with forks or with a stand mixer and set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk the milk into the cornmeal until evenly combined. Set aside. You want to allow the cornmeal time to soak in the milk so that it softens before incorporating it into the chili.
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, red pepper and jalapeño for 10 minutes until tender and golden, deglazing with the wine to incorporate the browned bits.
- Add in the beans, stock, spices, parsley, green chiles and shredded chicken distributing evenly before bringing to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Incorporate the cornmeal mixture into the chili and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 additional minutes to thicken, seasoning to taste. Serve topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips.
As you can see I varied the ingredients with much success. If you prefer other colors of bell peppers, throw them in. If you have a different color or variety of jalepeno growing in your backyard, give it a try. Only have one can of white beans sitting in your pantry? Pair an alternate type of beans or substitute for whatever beans you have. Be creative!
Homemade stock makes all the difference and it’s deceptively easy and saves you a ton of money!
When shredding my chicken breasts in the stand mixer, I tossed in the excess juices from the cooked chicken and found I didn’t even need to season my soup it had so much flavor.
Experiment with different spices to give your chili that little extra something special, I threw in a bit of Chipotle Cinnamon I had lying around to give it some warm heat.