Saturday, October 9, 2021

Cooking is Fun ... and Easy--White Bean Chicken Chili

 

Fun New Mexico fact--there's "Chili" and there's "Chile".  Never to be confused.  Chili is the soup/stew you make with chile the vegetable (well, really a fruit).  New Mexican chiles are the best and really have a distinctive taste.  Fun New Mexico fact #2--we have an official State question "Red or Green?"  Referring to what particularly chile you want on your food.  Fun fact #3 Christmas isn't just a holiday--it's also an answer to the red/green question and refers to having both red and green on your food.  They are such a huge part of our culture and our economy, that we have a state license plate dedicated to them.  

Now, on with the show.  I’ve been making this chili recipe since the first time I moved to New Mexico, back in 2000.  The original recipe was from a restaurant in Waxahatchie, TX called The Dove’s Nest.  It was originally printed in the Dallas Morning News, however, I clipped it from a column in the Santa Fe New Mexican, and carried it around all this time.  Over the years, as recipes do, it's evolved into something that's somewhat different from the original, which you can find here.  I hope you enjoy my take.

Lisa's White Chicken Chili

 Ingredients

  • 8 chicken tenders, sauteed until done, rough chopped.  Alternatively, get yourself an already-cooked rotisserie chicken and use about 3 cups of the meat
  • 3.5 cups chicken stock (I use Knorr concentrate, best stuff ever) 5 tomatillos, remove the husk, wash well and dice (they have a sticky sap once they are out of the husk)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced (I used a micro-plane for this, much faster)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, tops and top stems chopped fine to make 4 tablespoons for the pot and rest for garnish
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, ribs removed, and diced.  Wear gloves for this!  They are surprisingly mild once the seeds and ribs are gone.
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz ea) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz ea) cannellini beans, with their liquid
  • 1 16 oz. jar Santa Fe Ole’ Extra Roasted New Mexican Green Chile, medium, drained (you can order from Amazon here).  Alternatively, most stores outside of the Southwest carry Hatch brand green chiles canned (I was able to find in Virginia and Florida).  Unless you like spicy food, stick with the mild, and drain well.  Use a 17 oz can.
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 heaping tbsp. Mexican oregano (different flavor than Italian, but Italian will do in a pinch)
  • 1 heaping tbsp. Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Avocado oil 3 tablespoons, divided

Heat half of the oil on medium-high until shimmering, add 4 chicken tenders at a time.  Sauté on both sides till browned and cooked through.  About 5 minutes a side.  Remove tenders to a paper towel.  

Using same pot add rest of oil, scrape down inside of pot with wooden spoon to get all the nice meaty bits left on the bottom.  Add onion and sauté’ until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, sauté one minute more.   

Add tomatillos and jalapeño, sauté until tomatillos are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, sauté another 2 minutes.   

Add chicken stock, chicken, green chile, beans, oregano, cumin, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste, mix well.  Bring to boil, turn down to low, and heat through.  Let sit overnight for the best flavor.  

Garnish with cilantro, cheese, and serve with warmed tortillas or a crusty bread

Serves 8 or so.  Freezes beautifully.  Stay tuned for another episode tomorrow--I'm making Carne Guisada!

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