It’s winter and I wanted soup. Lots and lots of soup. (Admittedly, I want lots and lots of soup a lot of the time: asparagus and sorrel, fresh and clean in spring, bright tomato, sweet zucchini and roasted pepper in the summer, rich pumpkin in fall and hearty bowlsful in winter.)
It being a #testkitchen Tuesday night I asked all of you on Facebook and Instagram for your favorite, hearty, winter soups. Recommendations came in for chicken noodle, French onion, and Hot and Sour. Our friend Jerry Lee suggested white bean and chicken chili. Intrigued, I asked him for details and he shared a recipe from his co-worker, and competition chili cook, Nancy Bremer.
End of story, right? What do you do with a competition chili cook’s recipe? It is quick and delicious, and if you need a quick Tuesday night dinner that tastes even better Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for lunch, you should go right ahead and make it.
However, if you’ve got a little extra time I found a few ways to pack in some more flavor by cooking my own beans and chicken, fire roasting Poblano peppers instead of opening a can and giving the corn a few minutes under the broiler. It develops the natural sugars, which is well worth the few minutes of extra work, particularly if, like me and unlike my good friend George Hoshauer, you didn’t freeze your own fresh, sweet corn this past summer.
I will tell you that this extra work makes for a darn good pot of chili. But, I still don’t plan to compete against Ms. Bremer any time soon.
White Bean and Chicken Chili
Save some time and shred the meat from a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and open a can of chiles. But, I promise the extra work of roasting the chicken and chiles yourself is well worth the work!
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbs dried epazote or oregano
- 1 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast half
- 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 lb frozen corn
- 3 tbs Guajillo or other chile powder, divided
- 2 Poblano chiles
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 tbs ground cumin
- 1 lb white beans, cooked
- 4-6 cups bean cooking liquid* or chicken stock
- 2 tbs Lime juice
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Sherry vinegar
- 2 tbs butter
*If you cook dried beans yourself, save the flavorful cooking liquid and use it as a stock for this chili.
- Preheat oven to 400
- Rub chicken with 1 tbs olive oil and spread 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 tbs epazote under skin. Season with salt and pepper and place in an oven-safe skillet or baking dish. Roast until cooked through to 165 F, about 25-30 minutes. Let chicken cool, remove meat from bones and shred.
- Toss frozen corn with 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs chile powder. Season with salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place 8″ below broiler and cook, stirring once, until kernels begin to brown. Reserve.
- Roast chiles over a gas burner or under the broiler until skins are blacked all over. Seal in a freezer bag and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Remove peppers from bag and rub blackened skins from flesh. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and ribs. Cut flesh into thin slices. Reserve.
- Warm remaining 2 tbs oil in an 8 quart soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add remaining 3 cloves of minced garlic with remaining 2 tbs epazote, chile powder and cumin and cook 1 minute longer.
- Stir through beans, chicken, corn and peppers with bean cooking liquid or stock and simmer for 10 minutes allowing flavors to blend.
- Stir through lime juice and cilantro. Season to taste with a splash of sherry vinegar, butter, salt and pepper.