Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A white chili kind of day

Chili is one of my favorite things to make. It's so versatile and packed with healthy ingredients. It's great for lunch, great for dinner atop some rice. You can dress it up with sour cream and green onions, or just add a dollop of yogurt to tame the spice.

I don't usually make it with ground beef (although my friend Stefanie makes the best of that beef kind -- I'll see if she'll give me her recipe to post). I usually make veggie chili, something that seemed so unusual to me in the mid-1990s, when I began working at the now-defunct Bloomington spot, Encore Cafe, where they served a delicious veggie chili packed with chunks of colorful vegetables and loads of cumin.

Since then, I've experimented with all kinds of the hearty soup (or is it technically a stew?). They are so simple to make, really, and they can just sit in the crock pot all day, intensifying in flavor. My top two recipes are white chicken chili and southwestern black bean chili. Tonight, we'll be having the white kind. I'll post the other recipe sometime soon.

White chicken chili (8-10 servings)

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 Anaheim peppers
  • 2 cups of frozen corn
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed tomatillos (If I can't find tomatillos, I use mild salsa verde.)
  • about 1 cup of water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt, to taste
  • green onions, to garnish
  • optional: one diced zucchini or yellow squash
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon or more cayenne pepper, if you like it really hot
1.) In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook another minute or so.

2.) Put that mixture with the rest of the ingredients into the crock pot (or a large pot on the stove, in which case you can let the mixture simmer gently for about an hour). Stir to combine ingredients, and cook on high for 2.5 hours or on low for 5 hours.

The question of the day is: What's your least favorite part of working in the kitchen? I absolutely hate to empty the dishwasher of clean dishes. I have no idea why.


courtney said...

I, too detest unloading the dishwasher but I love to wash dishes???????? Weird. The chili looks fabulous especially with those green onions on top! Yummy!

Kreeky said...

I agree, unloading the dishwasher is the worst of the daily kitchen chores. But the absolute worst kitchen chore of all, although one we don't have to do very often, is cleaning the oven.

I make a very easy, but boring, white chili, so thanks for sharing your much-more-interesting recipe. Never thought of adding squash to it & that's such an easy way to make it more nutritous.