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White Chili

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By Chef Jason Roberts

Makes 10-12 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (approximately 4 pounds)
  • 12 cups good-quality chicken stock
  • 1 large bulb fennel, finely diced
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more as needed (optional)
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans green chilies, chopped
  • 1 pound dried cannellini or great northern beans, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
  • 1 whole jalapeño pepper, finely sliced, seeds in
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Optional Garnishes

  • Cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream
  • Grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Warmed corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Submerge the chicken in a large pot, cover it with the chicken stock, and cover it with a lid. Place the pot over moderate to high heat and bring the contents to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and continue to cook for 20 minutes before turning off the heat and allowing the contents to cool, approximately 40 minutes.
  2. Once the chicken has cooled, remove it from the stock and place it on a cutting board; set aside the stock until the next step. Use your fingers to remove the chicken skin and discard it; pull the meat away from the carcass and shred it, either with two forks or by hand.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pan over moderate to high heat, sauté the fennel, onions, and garlic in the olive oil for 2 minutes, until they’re translucent. Add the cumin and optional cayenne pepper and cook for another minute; then, add in the chopped green chilies, the beans, and 8 cups reserved chicken stock. Next, add the sliced jalapeño, cover the pot with a lid, and reduce the heat to low.
  4. Cook everything for approximately 60 minutes and then add the shredded cooked chicken. Cook it for another 20 minutes or until the beans are tender. Mix the milk with the cornstarch and pour it into the pan. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Check the seasoning and adjust it, if necessary, with salt and pepper, adding additional cayenne pepper, if desired. Add the Monterey Jack cheese to the pot and stir to melt.
  5. Serve the chili in a bowl. Garnish, as desired, with cilantro, sour cream, extra cheese—even pico de gallo and guacamole if you have some on hand. Roll up warmed corn tortillas and serve these on the side of the bowl.
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