Thursday, December 4, 2008

White Chili

When I was younger the thought of White Chili disgusted me. I pictured some kind of venison mixed with alfredo sauce...ick. However, once I tried White Chili I was instantly hooked. My fondest memory of using this recipe is when I made it for our friends, the Carrolls. Rachel and Clover were preparing to bring little Dixie home from the hospital. Dixie's birth coincided with the coldest few days that the Brazos Valley had seen in a long time. Their little pier-and-beam farmhouse was icy cold. I decided to warm the house up by making White Chili in the teensy kitchen before they arrived. The anticipation of the sweet, pink Dixie-bundle made the process almost dreamlike. I floated around the kitchen, playing house and dreaming of one day when I'd have a sweet bundle of my own. It didn't seem real that the little thump thump thumper we'd felt through Rachel's belly all those months would actually be a real little person in our world. Even though our worlds are farther apart, and two bundles richer...our lives are forever intwined.

White Chili
(serves 9ish)

*Pam cooking spray
*1 medium onion, chopped
*3 cloves of garlic, minced
*2.5 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh are best)
*6 tomatillos, chopped
*1 medium jalapeno, seeded, minced
*2 cups chicken stock
*7 ounces green chiles
*2 cups choppped chicken
*1/2 teaspoon oregano
*1/2 teaspoon cumin
*1/4 cup chopped cilantro
*2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini or Great Northern beans (drained and rinsed)
*juice of 1 lime
*salt and pepper to taste
*2% all-natural, Greek, strained plain yogurt (or sour cream if you don't care about calories)
*shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
*tortilla chips crumbled (optional)

Spray large soup pot with Pam, saute onion for 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and brown slightly.
Add the tomatoes, tomatillos, and jalapeno. Cook until tomatillos are tender, stirring occasionally.
Add chicken stock, green chiles, oregano, cumin, cilantro, beans, and lime juice. Cook until heated, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle chili into bowls.
Garnish with remaining ingredients.

***This recipe is also fabulous if you make it ahead of time and put into gallon-size Ziplock freezer bags. We've frozen it, and taken it in coolers on ski trips. Simply pour the thawed bags of chili into a crock pot set on low before you leave to hit the slopes. When you return the cabin will be filled with the delicious aroma of White Chili. Yum!***