ATC/CI White Chili With Chicken

I really thought I had already written a post on how to make this yummy chili, but alas, I had only referenced it in a post about our fall camping trip.   My high school/mommy dinner buddy Jacki recommended this to me last year.  Three types of peppers, shredded chicken breast, cannellini beans and a load of southwestern seasonings result in a savory AND slimming dish.  After the coconut cream bars, I figure this is a return to the lighter side.  I am not even buying any chips or sour cream.

The original recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated.  Chris Kimball has put together a great magazine; I love reading his intro piece in each issue and CI has become one of my favorite cooking magazines.  Grace gave me a subscription for Christmas last year and I have since renewed it for three years.  This chili recipe is available online from many sources; I especially like this one from a fellow blogger because it provides pictures of the different peppers you’ll need.  I don’t follow the steps as written; in particular, I have a giant Cuisnart so I blitz everything, including the two jalapeno peppers.  I also season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper before browning (it’s a habit) and increase the seasonings to taste.

It’s a very forgiving recipe, which means you can be flexible on the seasonings (especially if you are a confident cook).  We tend to add the third jalapeno PLUS the seeds and ribs, but taste first after adding the third!  The lime juice is an absolute necessity; it brings a wonderful bright flavor to the chili.  As for cilantro, it’s not my favorite (tastes like soap to me), so half the time I use it, half the time I leave it out.

White Chicken Chili (adapted from ATC/CI)

  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken breast with skin
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 3 Anaheim peppers
  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • 2-3 onions (about 2 c, but I go heavy on onion since it’s a base flavor)
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 15-0z cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 c chicken stock (today I used my own, but I love Pacific)
  • 1 TB ground cumin (or to taste, I tend to go heavy on this as well)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander (again, I go heavy on this)
  • 3-4 chopped scallions (white and green)
  • a big handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 TB lime juice (or to taste)
Notice there is no cilantro for us!

Notice there is no cilantro for us!

Drain and rinse the canellini beans; set aside.

Rinse well to remove excess salt

Rinse well to remove excess salt

Slice the onion into big chunks; this just helps the food processor work more efficiently.

Big chunks

Big chunks

Slice the tops off the peppers, then split them horizontally to remove the seeds and inner ribs (the white stuff).  Set aside one jalapeno and its seeds/ribs for later.  Chop the rest of the peppers into chunks.

Poblanos

Poblanos

Anaheims

Anaheims

Jalapenos

Jalapenos

Smash the garlic to remove the peel.

Smashing the garlic releases a substance that allows the peels to slip off easily!

Smashing the garlic releases a substance that allows the peels to slip off easily!

Place all the above in a food processor.  I have a 16 cup processor which holds all the veg; you may have to process the veg in two batches if they don’t fit comfortably in the work bowl.

Ready to blitz!

Ready to blitz!

Pulse the processor in 1 sec bursts until you have a small dice.   Set aside work bowl.

Fairly small pieces

Fairly small pieces

Trim the chicken of any excess fat; salt and pepper.

Remove as much extra fat as you can

Remove as much extra fat as you can

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil to near smoking on medium-high heat.  Add the breasts, skin side down.  Let the heat do the work; don’t wiggle the pieces around for at least 4 minutes.

Don't move these pieces for at least 2 minutes!

Don’t move these pieces for at least 4 minutes!

When skin has browned, flip the breasts over to brown the rib side.

This is the minimum browning you want to achieve.

This is the minimum browning you want to achieve.

When the rib side has browned– about another 2 minutes, remove the breasts to a tray.  Pour out all but 1-2 TB of oil/fat.  Add the pepper paste to the pot (set aside the work bowl un-rinsed to use later), cumin, coriander and 1/4 tsp salt.  Stir well to blend, then cover and cook until the mixture has softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir as needed to prevent paste from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Blend these well; it's the flavor base for the chili!

Blend these well; it’s the flavor base for the chili!

After the vegetables have softened, remove the pot from heat.  Place the work bowl back onto the processor with its blade.  Place 1 cup of the canellini beans, 1 cup of the cooked vegetables and 1 cup of chicken stock into the bowl.

Pureeing some of the beans creates a thickener for the chili!

Pureeing some of the beans creates a thickener for the chili!

Process until you have a smooth puree.

Yes, it splatters and drips everywhere!

Yes, it splatters and drips everywhere!

Add the puree and remaining 2 cups of broth to the vegetable pot.  Stir to combine, then add the chicken breasts and any accumulated juices.

Chicken breasts are partially submerged in the liquid

Chicken breasts are partially submerged in the liquid

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low or to maintain a simmer.

Make sure the liquid is at a boil before you cover and reduce heat

Make sure the liquid is at a boil before you cover and reduce heat

Cook for 20 minutes or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.  (I don’t usually measure the temp, but that’s what the recipe said).

Definitely done.

Definitely done.

Remove breasts to a tray and let cool.  Add the remaining beans and let chili simmer uncovered to thicken, about 10 minutes.  Mince the third jalepeno; set aside with its seeds and ribs.

Creamy canellini beans-- one of Kurt's favorites

Creamy cannellini beans– one of Kurt’s favorites

When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and shred the meat.

Use two forks to create bite-size pieces of meat

Use two forks to create bite-size pieces of meat

Add the chicken, lime juice, scallions, cilantro, and minced jalepeno to the pot; stir and bring to a simmer.  Taste and correct seasonings, adding the jalapeno ribs and seeds if desired.

Don't forget the lime juice!

Don’t forget the lime juice!

Serve in bowls with sour cream and chips.

A very tasty and healthy dish!

A very tasty and healthy dish!

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