It’s January. Pfffth. That’s how I feel about that… in other words, ugggghh.
We are now fully into the long, cold months of winter. It’s dark and dreary. It’s blustery and cold. The warm cheer of the holidays is fully over and the excitement of new snow is gone. There are few, if any, redeeming qualities about this month, probably my least favorite month of the year. Aaaand, to top it all off, I’m somehow supposed to want to eat cold salads and icy smoothies all month long, to be healthy, of course…. thanks to New Year’s resolutions and all that.
But instead… I choose chili. Warm, spicy, hearty, filling, comforting chili. (That totally wasn’t even a sentence, but oh, well!) Is there anything better in the deep of winter than a big bowl of chili? I think not. Paired with a hearty chunk of cornbread, this is the best thing to happen to your tastebuds all month long. So, in honor of the chilliest month of the year, I am hosting a new series on the blog: Chili January. Fitting, don’t you think? I will be posting several different chili recipes this month, along with a few sides that pair well. As a result, you will have enough recipe ammunition to host a community Chili cook-off, or invite friends over for a relaxed Chili dinner, or if you’re feeling rather unmotivated (as I tend to feel in the midst of January), you can just snuggle into a quilt on your couch and enjoy your lovely bowl of chili while binge-watching Netflix. Yep, sounds good. So check back all month for more chili deliciousness….
Today’s recipe is probably my fav-fav-favorite chili recipe of all time. I still remember the first time I ever ate white chicken chili and I was so amazed and blown away by the step away from traditional chili, that I immediately went home and found a recipe to make, which I have tweaked over the years to my liking. It tastes just like chili, yet different. Better, even? Perhaps.
I, seemingly unlike the majority of the rest of humanity, am not a huge fan of tomato-based, well… anything really. Spaghetti is probably one of my least favorite meals ever. And while I do like pizza, I might actually like plain cheese sticks even better, because it’s basically pizza without the marinara sauce. Tomato soup – nope. Growing up, tomato based chili was always ho-hum to me. And while my tastes have matured and I surely like tomato-y things and traditional chili way more than I did as a child, I think this white chicken chili will always be my favorite precisely because it has no tomatoes.
But, whether you believe chili should be tomato-based or not, I’m absolutely sure we can all agree that this stuff is delicious. And warm. A little spicy. And cozy. And oh, so perfect for a cold winter’s day. If you’ve never made or eaten white chili, you should do it. Now. It’s the perfect time. This recipe is super simple and comes together in under an hour. I much prefer to use rotisserie chicken, as I have stated in the recipe below, because I find the chicken to be more tender and flavorful in the chili and the textures and flavors are more cohesive. Feel free to use whatever type of cooked chicken you have on hand, but the results may not be as spectacular.
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken (or homemade oven roasted chicken)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chile peppers
- 3 cans (14.5 ounces each) Great Norther beans, undrained
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- ½ to 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper, to taste
- Monterey jack cheese, shredded
- Sour cream
- Remove all the skin from the rotisserie chicken and discard. Remove all the meat from the chicken. Discard bones (or reserve to make chicken stock). Shred or chop the chicken meat into bite size chunks. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan or kettle, saute the onions in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until tender and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and green chile peppers; bring to a boil.
- Stir in the Great Northern beans, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, and ground cayenne pepper. Add the shredded chicken. Stir until combined and bring mixture just to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- To serve, top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese.