07 August 2011

White Chicken Chili

This week, though in the midst of the August heat even in Wisco, my husband requested comfort food (aka Fall Food that's great when there's a chill in the air).  He especially loves anything made in the crockpot because it's less work for me and 90 percent hands off-- not to mention our apartment smells FAB all day (usually). So I turned the A/C down to 66 degrees and pulled out my recipe for White Chicken Chili.  It's tested and approved from my mother-in-law (a mad cooking genius) that I adapted to make even easier (because I too wish to be a mad cooking genius).

I'm telling you-- it's delish.  Try it, even if you don't like beans (you need your fiber, people!), but the best part about this chili is that it's flexible, forgiving, and affordable-- and it makes a bunch!

White Chicken Chili: Crockpot Style

4 chicken breasts
3-4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cumin
1 med to lg yellow onion, chopped
2 - 14oz cans Northern beans (undrained)
2 - 14oz cans Navy beans (undrained)
Juice of 1 lime
1 - 4oz can diced green chiles
1 packet white chicken chili seasoning
1 Tbsp lemon pepper (or Pampered Chef's Citrus and Basil rub)
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 avocados for garnish (optional)
Shredded cheese-- I recommend finely shredded cheddar or cheddar jack

Combine all ingredients-- except cilantro, avocado, and cheese-- placing the chicken breasts on the bottom. Cook on High for 4 hours OR Low for 8 hours.

Once the chili is done cooking, remove the chicken breasts and shred using 2 forks (mine was so tender I used a fork and a spoon).  Dump back in and add the cilantro-- mix and serve into individual bowls.  Garnish with cheese and avocados.  Enjoy!

Yes, the chicken breasts go in raw, though you can par boil them for 10 minutes before and shred if you're afraid you'll kill your company.

The recipe normally calls for 2-3 cups of broth but in the past has ended up too thick for my taste.  This time around I didn't measure and had an almost full box of veggie broth going old in the fridge so I dumped in the whole darn thing. I think it was almost 4 cups... Like I said, this is a forgiving recipe so feel free to add more less liquid depending on your own preference.  That's how it became "Choup."

If you don't have lemon pepper, add about a tsp of lemon juice, pepper, and salt individually-- that should do the trick!

The liquid in canned beans is a great thickener for soups, stews, and chili.

Fresh cilantro is easy to find in the produce sections (make sure you don't grab parsley) at most, if not all, grocery stores.  Although you can buy a smaller amount in those plastic fresh herb containers in the herb section near the lettuce, buy the BUNCH instead.  It's a better deal.  "What else can I use cilantro for?" you might wonder... Well as you may have known from past entries, I'm a cilantro fanatic so my answer is EVERYTHING. Salads, guac, Asian, Mexican, Southwestern cooking, toss it into other soups for more flavor.
The best way I've found for storing it? Remove the tie and place the bunch in a small cup filled with cold water.  Set in your fridge and pull out when needed.  I can get about 2 weeks out of it which is pretty amazing considering how near death most commercial grocery store produce usually is.

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