I love the elegance of tone-on-tone dressing. It seems so chic, so ‘put together’. In that same vein when I discovered this recipe for ‘White Chili’ in a family recipe collection, I instantly loved the aesthetic of coordinating a dish chromatically. White-on-white, blanco-en-blanco, with a pop of discreet, muted chile green. I felt confident I’d look very hip while eating it and it would be certain to go with any outfit.
It is chili season thanks to the arctic wiles of the mountain regions. It’s been an underwhelming winter to date, leaving us constantly checking ski conditions at our little local area and wondering when ‘it will come’. We enjoyed highs in the teens this past weekend, empathetically watching the beloved NFL home team man-up in single degree temps that meteorologists reported felt to be below zero, their breath curling out of their nostrils like angry dragons. I’m not clear how they even handled a football frankly and why they weren’t crying it was so cold (I would have been).
The arrival of said weather prompted perfect timing to try the White Chili recipe. I tweaked it a bit and after I finished admiring the sublime color match, I realized it fits seamlessly into the eating protocol of the first part of the New Year, offering a lighter, healthier version of a favorite cold-weather dish.
Pale in visual tone does not mean wimpy or flavorless by any means. Where red chili typically is chunky meat, beans and tomatoes in a thick sauce, White Chili offers a hearty yet light combination of succulent chunks of white chicken, smooth-flavored Great Northern Beans in a richly-flavored broth. It quenches the winter hunger for warm, filling food without leaving one heavy in the stomach. If you are on a mission to better health or less calorie consumption, this is a perfect dish. And if you aren’t, this is a perfect dish!
Spicy White Chili
- 2 tablespoons unsalted Butter
- 4 boneless Chicken Breasts
- 1 medium-large Yellow Onion , peeled and chopped
- 2 teaspoons Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- ¾ teaspoon dried Oregano
- 8 ounces canned Green Chiles
- 3 16- ounce cans Great Northern Beans , drained
- 4 cups Chicken Broth/Stock
- 1 cup Water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish: Grated Mozzarella cheese and Cilantro
Place butter in a large stock pot heat over medium heat. Once butter is foaming, place chicken breasts in the pot and cook for 2 ½ minutes on each side. Cover, remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Remove chicken and cut into bite sized chunks. Return to stovetop and heat on medium heat.
Add chopped onions to pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano and green chilies. Stir to combine and allow to cook 1-2 minutes.
Add chicken, beans, chicken broth and water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 15-30 minutes to reduce the liquid and intensify the flavors! Salt and pepper to taste. Serve topping with grated Mozzarella cheese and some torn cilantro leaves.