As my friends up in the Northeast can attest to…it’s winter. The struggle is even oh so real down here in the FLA. It got down in the mid 30’s last week (GASP!!!). I know. Cry me an ice cube tray of frozen tears. Regardless if it’s a Class-5-Kill-Storm or a Florida-frost-warning-freakout, this is the time of year when all you really want at the top of your list of food choices are whether or not said meal will take the chill out of the bones. Not too many would argue that there’s no better food to help in that endeavor than a good ol’ bowl of chili. And in the interest of keeping our meal choices figure friendly this time of year, I’ve decided to go with a White Bean Chicken Chili recipe that will not only warm you up and satisfy your appetite, it won’t have you using those leftover gift cards from Christmas to buy larger clothes.
- 1 Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken (Publix is the SHIZ!!!)
- 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1/2 Sweet Onion (finely diced)
- 5 cups Chicken Broth (or stock)
- 2 Cans of Great Northern Beans (drained)
- 1 Can Whole Kernel Corn (drain if you want, but I like to use some of the liquid)
- 4 oz. Green Chilies
- 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
- 2 tsp. Cumin
- 2 tsp. Chili Powder
- 2 tsp. Ground Coriander
- 2 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 3 tbsp. Chopped Cilantro
- 2 tbsp. Corn Starch
- 1/4 cup Milk
- Shredded Cheese (some mix of Cheddar and Monterey Jack is quite lovely)
I can just hear it now from all you hipster-chef-purists. “Oh…how can you call yourself a chef if you don’t roast that chicken from scratch?!?! (pained sigh, followed by the stroke of an unreasonably unkempt beard, complete with an ‘I can’t even’ eye roll)”. First off, I’m no chef. I am, like a lot of you, a cook…and proud of it. I make stuff for my friends and family to enjoy. Chefs use stupid buzz words like “foraged”,”sumptuous”, “essence”, “deconstructed”and “aioli” when describing their hand agitated lavender foam that accompanies their delicately seared foie gras served along side a hand selected melange of locally sourced quail eggs. Secondly, I can rotisserie the hell out of a chicken on my grill if I damn well please and it’s probably one of the best things you’ll ever eat (and yes, I will post that recipe when the weather warms up…and I fix my currently malfunctioning grill). Now, that being said, if I go thru all the trouble of that process (brining, seasoning, skewering, roasting, etc.), I’m sure as hell not gonna go pull it apart and use it in a chili recipe. I’m gonna go all caveman and eat that bird with my bare hands while grunting contentedly and enjoying that pure, unadulterated, poultry perfection. But, in the case of this recipe, I’m driving myself down to the local Publix and buying a nearly identically delicious chicken and saving myself hours of prep/cook time. Store-bought rotisserie chicken is amazing and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
CHOP, SHRED, SWEAT, AND SIMMER
Now that you’ve procured that delicious chicken, it’s shredding time! Make sure to get all the meat off that bird (white AND dark meat) and transfer to a large bowl.
PRO TIP: Pull the meat and skin off each drum stick and eat it. It just makes the whole experience that much more rewarding.
Next, heat a large pot (I prefer cast iron) over medium heat, finely chop your onion and mince that garlic. Once your pot is nice and toasty, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, salt and pepper to the pot. Sautee for about 5 min or until the onions begin to soften. Next, add the green chilies, cumin, chili powder, coriander, oregano and the shredded chicken. Stir everything together and sautee for another minute. Once all that stuff has been thoroughly combined, turn the heat up to medium-high and add the beans, corn and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 45 minutes. At this point, you may as well start with your beer pairing…
Victory Prima Pils (German Pilsner)
Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, PA)
I’m normally not a huge pilsner fan, but this one is phenomenal. It’s got much more of a hop-forward punch that you normally don’t get with this style…which I can TOTALLY get down with. Now, if you’re not down with the trend of over-hopping any and all craft beers, not to worry. Copious amounts of German malt brings this beer a beautiful balance. The crisp, peppery bite along with its long, dry finish make this a perfect complement to the rich, and (mellow) spicy flavors of the chili. Now, let’s finish this up and start eating!
CHILI NOW!!! (AND LATER)
After a good 45 minutes of simmering, it’s time to give this bubbly concoction a much deserved taste. Need salt? Add some. Needs a little more flavor? Add some more cumin. Needs heat? Add some cayenne or Cholula. Once you’re happy with the flavor, mix together the milk and corn starch, bring the chili back up to a boil, and stir in the slurry (milk/corn starch). Once it’s combined and the chili has thickened a bit, turn off the heat, stir in the fresh cilantro, ladle yourself a big bowl and top with shredded cheese.
You are now free to enjoy the warming, nearly guilt free goodness that is this chili. The best part about this recipe (or any other chili, for that matter), is that it only gets better as the flavors have time to meld. As good as this will be straight out of the pot, it’ll be that much better the next day. So, make a big ol’ batch and stay warm out there!