White Chicken Chili
I buy a lot of whole chickens these days because it’s much easier to find pastured chickens in whole form than in parts. As a result, I’m always trying to come up with new gluten-free chicken recipes that use a whole chicken.
If I plan to serve the chicken whole, I roast him, using Ina’s trusted roasting techniques. But if I plan to harvest the cooked chicken meat and shred or chop it for casseroles or soups, I usually stick him in the crock pot. Either way, I always use the leftover bones for chicken stock. (See how to make chicken stock.)
Last night I had a chicken thawing in the fridge that I needed to use up, so I decided to make one of our favorite gluten-free chicken recipes: white chili.
First, I salted and peppered the chicken; stuffed him with fresh thyme, garlic, and a lemon; and threw him in the crock pot on high. After about 5 hours, the house was smelling pretty much like he was done, so I took him out, cooled him for a bit, and then went about pulling the meat off the bones. I saved the bones for stock, and I stored the meat in the fridge for future dinner making. Then I pulled out a bag of Northern White beans and put them in a pan of water to soak over night and went to bed. (You can also use canned beans, if you wish. You don’t have to soak those overnight, though.)
This morning after breakfast had been cleaned up, I decided to go ahead and make the chili. It keeps well, and afternoons get kind of crazy when the kids arrive home from school, so the more dinner prep I can do early in the day, the better.
I started by draining the beans in the sink. (If you’re using canned beans, you will want to rinse and drain them at this point as well.)
Then I chopped an onion and some garlic. I set a stock pot over medium heat, and drizzled in some olive oil, and tossed in the onions.
While the onions sauteed (always wait to add the garlic until the onions are almost done; garlic tends to burn), I chopped some fresh oregano. The recipe calls for dried, but I have some growing on my deck, so I figured I may as well use it. And I got out the cumin, cloves, and ground red pepper. By then it was time to add the garlic. I stirred it around and then threw in the spices and mixed ’em up real good.
While that got all nice and fragrant, I pulled out my homemade chicken stock and retrieved my beans from the sink. I can’t tell you how pleased I was with myself, grabbing jars of homemade stock. Not only is it so nutritious, it just tastes so much better than anything you can get in a can at the store.
I poured them in and gave them a stir.
I brought it all to a boil and then reduced it and let it simmer for about an hour while I cleaned up and prepared the chicken.
Remember that chicken I cooked last night? I went through it and chopped it into nice bite-sized chunks. There was even enough to save out some for chicken salad — one of my favorite lunches when I’m trying to eat more protein.
Then I shredded a block of Colby Jack cheese in the food processor. By that time, the chili had been simmering for about 45 minutes, so I added the cheese, the chicken, and 2 cans of green chilies.
After that I took a stick blender and mushed it all up some. Then I stuck it in the fridge to get all tasty and thickened.
Later this afternoon, I threw together some corn muffins while the chili heated up on the stove. And then I dished up piping hot bowls of chicken chili, garnished with shredded cheese and sour cream and corn muffins on the side.
If you want the exact recipe, here you go! (YOu can also omit the cheese if you want, and it turns out *almost* as yummy.
- 2 lbs shredded chicken
- 1 lb Great Northern beans (or 3 cans)
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 med onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1-1/2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 4-oz cans chopped green chiles (mild)
- 3 cups shredded jack cheese (divided)
- sour cream
- Soak beans overnight in water using 3 to 1 ratio (3 parts water to one part beans). (Or you can scrap that and use 3 cans of beans. Whatever works!
- Saute onions and garlic in olive oil.
- Stir in all spices.
- Add beans and broth.
- Simmer 60 minutes.
- Add chicken, chilies, and 1 cup cheese; stir to combine. Use stick blender if desired. (I like to add half the chicken, use the stick blender, and then add the rest of the chicken. So some is shredded fine, and there are still some nice chunks.)
- Serve with remaining cheese, salsa, and sour cream.This chili is best the next day.