Cold Weather Fare: White Bean Chicken Chili

The snow has arrived! 

We haven’t had much of a winter in southern Colorado.  But on the same day the groundhog tells us to expect another six weeks of winter, the weatherman forecasts six inches of snow in town and blizzard conditions over Monument Pass and on the Eastern Plains.  (BTW:  Doesn’t the groundhog always predict an extra six weeks of winter?). 

Since noon, thick clouds have hovered over Pikes Peak and the temperature has plummeted.  Looking out the window is like gazing into a giant snowglobe, as fluffy, white flakes swirl in slow motion on the other side of the glass.

It’s time for a pot of soup—something fast and simple, yet hearty and with a bit of spice.  This is one of The Philosopher’s favorites.  Fresh chilies add body and kick to a basic recipe. 

 White Bean Chicken Chili

  •  ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 large Anaheim chilies, seeded and minced (or 2 4-oz cans diced green chilies)*
  • 2 T ground cumin
  • 1 T chili powder
  • ¼ t cayenne pepper
  • 4 15-oz cans white beans (Great Northern Beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached and diced (approx. two half-breasts)**
  • Optional toppings:  shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, diced tomatoes, tortilla strips

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch oven or soup pot, sauté onions and fresh chilies until soft.  Add garlic and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes.  (If using canned chilies, add after the garlic).
  2. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne until onion mixture is coated and fragrant.
  3. Add beans, broth, and chicken.
  4. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat immediately.  Simmer on low for 30-45 minutes until flavors are blended.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with a selection of toppings, a green salad, and gluten-free bread or crackers.

*Be sure to wear gloves when handling fresh chilies and be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.  If you forget the gloves and end up with burning hands, try soaking them in a bowl of apple cider vinegar.

**To save time, buy a rotisserie chicken and shred the meat as you pick it right off the bone.  Check ingredients carefully, though, as some rotisserie chickens are marinated in a broth that may not be gluten-free.

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