White Chicken Chili

I have tried countless recipes for White Chicken Chili over the years, from this popular “dump it all in a pot” recipe to more authentic versions made with a hard-to-find chili peppers and hominy. My favorite recipe, and the one my family loves best, is sort of a happy medium between the two. Modestly adapted from this five-star white chicken chili from the Neelys, this is a hearty one-pot meal that you can have on the dinner table in under an hour.

What you’ll need to make white chicken chili

ingredients for white chicken chili

The recipe calls for a store-bought rotisserie chicken. I always shred the chicken as soon as I get home from the grocery store — it’s easier to do while the chicken is still warm, eliminates a step at dinnertime, and also takes up less room in the fridge.

The larger peppers you see in photo are mild poblanos. The small chili pepper is a spicy jalapeño. As always, when working with jalapeños, wear gloves or wash your hands very well afterwards (and always avoid touching your eyes). The seeds and ribs in the pepper hold all of the heat. I remove and discard them to keep the chili mild and family-friendly, but if you like a spicy chili, save them and stir some in at the end.

Note that I use low-sodium chicken broth for the chili; the canned beans are fairly high in sodium, so using a low-sodium variety broth helps to keep the flavor of the chili from being overly salty.

The corn in the recipe is frozen as that way, you can make this year-round (and there’s no need to defrost the corn before incorporating it into the recipe). If you happen to be making this when fresh corn is in season and prefer to use that, you’ll need kernels from 1 ear of corn.

How to make white chicken chili

Begin by combining half of the white beans in a food processor with one cup of the chicken broth.

beans and broth in food processor

Process until you have a smooth purée. This is what will thicken the broth. Set aside.

puréed beans and broth

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and add the the onions and peppers.

oil, onion, and peppers in pot Cook until soft, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic.

soft onions and peppers with garlic added

Cook a minute more, then add the spices.

adding the spices

Continue cooking for another minute to toast the spices.

toasting the spices

Add the chicken broth, salt and puréed bean mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

adding the broth and puréed beans

Stir in the shredded chicken, beans, corn, and lime and simmer until everything is warmed through.

adding the chicken, beans, corn and lime

You will notice that the chili is quite soupy. This is intentional. It thickens as it sits — in fact, if you make it ahead of time, you will likely need to add some broth or water to thin it out. Plus, I find that if the broth is too thick, the chili gets gloppy and unappealing. A soupy broth is good!

finishing the chili with cilantro

Serve with sour cream, lime wedges and crushed tortilla chips.

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  • Chicken Chili with White Beans
  • Texas Beef Chili (Chili Con Carne)
  • Best Ground Beef Chili

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