Saturday, February 4, 2012

Spicy Chicken and Tiny Beans

White Bean Chili

Last summer, when we were in Rapid City I ordered the best white chicken chili at the Firehouse Restaurant. Spicy, creamy, and delicious, I needed to recreate it's tasty goodness once I arrived home. The thing is, re-creating a dish is a bit tricky and it doesn't always capture the tasty goodness that we had in the restaurant. This chili isn't very spicy, as we didn't want to scare the non-spicy eaters of the house. It's a very mild dish, but feel free to bump up the flavors however you need to. I suggest adding some chopped pickled jalapeno peppers, which I'm sure will add some amazing flavor!  For this recipe you can use any white beans, but I used Great Northern ones.

3 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 fresh  jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cans (they are small-maybe a 4 oz size?) of chopped green chiles
2 cans (19 oz each)  of white beans, or 4 cups of cooked white beans.
4-5 cups of unsalted chicken broth
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
salt and pepper
1 cup whole milk
2 tbsp cornmeal
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
Chopped fresh cilantro

In a large saucepan, saute the onion, garlic, celery, red pepper, and fresh jalapeno in a little bit of oil until soft and translucent.  Remove the veggies from the pan and set aside on a plate, briefly.  Make sure you have a little oil in the pan and toss in your cubed chicken thighs. Over medium heat, stir them around until they are browned.  Add the vegetables back into the pan along with the cumin, paprika, a little cayenne if you wish, salt, and pepper, stirring and cooking about a minute or so more to bring out the flavor of the spices.

Pour in about 4 cups of chicken broth, beans, and canned chiles. Give it a good stir and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and cornmeal.  Stir into the chili along with the thawed corn,  and continue to heat until warmed through.  If you need more liquid, add the remaining cup of chicken broth. Zest the lime right into the pot, then cut it in half and squeeze the juice in.  Taste and correct for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if you feel you need it.

Serve topped with fresh cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, and shredded Pepper Jack cheese.

Makes about 6 servings
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