Tastes Like Chicken
If you have never experienced my white chicken chili, I feel sorry for you. Literally, you make me sad. Not as sad as those Sara McLachlan pet-adoption commercials but almost.
I will thus perform a noble public service and share my recipe. You’ll have the key to yumminess, I won’t feel guilty, it’s a win-win!
This is the quintessential chicken chili; you’ll not find one better so don’t waste your time. Unless, of course, you’re looking for a really healthy option, then it’s probably best to move along. This isn’t the chili you’re looking for.
Here’s the thing: I refer to the actual recipe very loosely. The stated quantities are basically just suggestions as far as I’m concerned—start there and adjust to your taste. My ‘suggestion’ has a little kick but isn’t super spicy. It makes enough for the two of us to have a couple of hearty helpings with another small serving or two for lunch the next day.
The Best White Chicken Chili. Ever.
1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups half & half
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 large white onion, diced
1 can white beans (use 2 if you’re bean people)
Some of those pickled jalapeño slices, chopped, with just a little of the juice mixed in to taste (Old El Paso is good because we use scant amounts and just keep the jar in the fridge to use multiple times)
First, season your chicken with salt, pepper and chili powder to taste (this is just a little bit in addition to the measurements listed above).
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until cooked through. If you really wanted to, you could cook it on the stove, which could end up setting off your smoke detector and making your dogs cry. Baking it in the oven is way easier. Trust me.
After the chicken is cooled, you’ll want to shred it into little bits.
I use my hands, but you could use a stand mixer* or forks or something, I suppose.
*UPDATE: if you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, throw the paddle beater on it and let that puppy shred the chicken for you; just drop it in hot out of the oven and let ‘er rip. It’s like magic, only yummier!
While you’re waiting on your chicken, cook the diced onion in 2 Tbs of butter. You want the onions to be soft and look translucent—it only takes a couple of minutes. Set aside.
In a big ol’ dutch oven pot, melt the rest of the butter over medium-low heat and whisk in the flour. This step is creating a roux that will thicken the chili. Whisk constantly as it cooks for about 2-3 minutes. It might look awful, and you might feel like you screwed it up…don’t get frustrated…as long as you don’t let it burn, you’re okay.
Slowly mix in the broth, half & half and onion. Keep whisking!
Add the spices then the chicken, beans, peppers and cheese. Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes (or longer if you’d like), stirring occasionally. Stir in the sour cream a few minutes before serving to make it even creamier.