White Chicken Chili

dsc_0060RECIPE #390, DAY #566


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “White Bean and Chicken Chili,” from Mills’s and Ross’s Desperation Dinners*

TIMING: 20 minutes


TOOLS: A soup pot and a rice cooker or steamer

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: While one of the reasons I adore chili is that is is like a pot of health while still tasting amazing, white chili breaks many of the chili rules and in so-doing incurs a few added fats (and loses a few phytonutrients, as well). It is mostly true what they say: white food is bad for you, and eat the rainbow. On the other hand, this bowl of yum is not terribly bad for you either. Still full of beans, lean protein, and some vegetables, it’s still a winner winner chicken dinner.
dsc_0062EXPERIENCE: My step-brother approached me last week. He is currently just graduated from police academy and in the market for a job (anybody?), and was thinking about taking some cooking lessons. You know, just to be functional in the kitchen. Since he currently has no job, he decided to approach me instead, to see if he could come over once a week and get a cooking lesson. I’m free.

This was our first meal. It was actually already on the schedule when he booked me, but it ended up being perfect. It was easy, fast, and appeals to a wide audience of tastes. Also, he learned some vegetable chopping, browning, and soup-building, as well as carefully choosing functional garnishes. And the definitions of mise en place and microplane.

Then the family sat down to steaming bowls of chili which the kids liked way more than actual chili.

NOTES: I still don’t know how I really feel about white chili, but this is good. Like all my chilis, I make it a little soupier than some people. Feel free to cut back on the chicken broth.

Also, feel free to spice it up with extra jalapeno.

I do not like to thicken things with cornstarch, but this recipe works fine with it.

I suppose you could use black pepper here, but you would be losing more than the color of the white pepper. It has just the right bite for this chili.


  1. In a soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 diced onion and cook until translucent.
  2. Add 1 pound chicken thigh or tenders cut into bite-size pieces. Brown until just cooked. Some browning would be nice.
  3. Add 3 cloves pressed garlic and 2 minced jalapenos (or 1 can chopped green chilies). Stir for 30 seconds and add 2 cans white beans (like navy or cannelini), 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon white pepper, and 3 cups chicken broth. Stir, then bring to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. When the chili comes to a boil, whisk in the cornstarch mixture. It should thicken right up. Add more broth if you want it a little thinner.
  5. Remove from heat and squeeze in the juice of 1 lime. Taste for salt.
  6. Serve the chili with steamed Texamati rice, shredded Jack cheese, sour cream, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, and a green hot sauce.


Serve with nothing else but a light beer.

LEFTOVER IDEAS: Let people add garnishes to their own bowl, that way this can be saved and re-warmed later. Add broth if needed and taste for seasonings. Finish with lime juice and use whatever garnishes you still have.

*Recipe changed from the original.



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