White Chicken Chili

What sets this white chicken chili recipe apart from other chili recipes is taking the extra few minutes to saute and brown the meat and then cooking the onions and jalapenos in the browned chicken bits and fat. You get an added layer of smokiness and flavor which makes for a more flavorful chili than just tossing chicken in the pot to stew with the rest of the ingredients.

You will need:

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
Kosher salt and cracked pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
7 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, diced
2-3 jalapenos, diced and seeds removed
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk, preferably at least 1% or 2% milk fat
2 cups chicken stock, preferably low-sodium if using canned stock
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (Use two cans if you love beans or what to stretch out this recipe to feed more people.)
1 (4 ounce) can of green chiles, or 1 fresh green chile, roasted, seeds removed and chopped
1 pound roasted corn
6-8 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded plus more for garnish if desired

For the corn, use 3-4 ears of fresh corn, grilled and removed from cob or a 1-pound bag of frozen corn. If you’re using fresh corn on the cob, grill the corn by lightly brushing with vegetable or canola oil and cook until lightly charred. Cool and remove from cob. If using frozen corn, heat in a cast iron skillet or grill until lightly charred and then cool. (You can read more about roasting corn and see photos in this recipe for Chipotle Grilled Corn Salad.) Or if your local grocer sells it, buy roasted frozen corn and thaw before using.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the butter and oil start to sizzle, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 3-6 minutes a side depending on how thick the chicken pieces you are cooking are. After all the poultry has been cooked, remove from the pan and set on a cutting board or plate to cool. Once cool, dice the cooked chicken.

In the same pan, saute the diced onion and jalapeno until soft over medium heat, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil if needed. While cooking the onions and jalapeno, be sure to scrap the little browned bits of chicken joy from the bottom of the pan into the vegetable mixture. When the onions have become translucent, remove from heat.

Time to get out the Big Pot (which would be a great nickname for Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson for his pounds of weed) and make the roux which will give us the thick chili base we’re looking for. In the bottom of a large stock pot, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and whisk in 1/4 cup flour, stirring constantly. Once the flour as toasted and absorbed the butter — should take 2-3 minutes — gradually add in 1 cup milk and keep stirring until smooth. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of chicken stock and bring to a boil to thicken, about 5-7 minutes depending on how hot your stove runs.

Add in the ground cumin, chili powder, softened onions and jalapeno, green chiles, roasted corn, cannellini beans, most of the monterey jack cheese, and chopped cooked chicken. Season with kosher salt and cracker pepper as to personal preference, omitting the extra salt if using canned stock. Bring to a simmer, gradually adding the remaining cup of chicken stock until desired consistency is reached. Stir often, scraping the bottom of the stock pot as you go to prevent sticking. Allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes. If the chili seems a bit thin for your tastes, add in a bit more monterey jack. (I do this regardless.)

Once done, remove from heat and allow to set for a few minutes before serving, giving the chili one last scrape of the bottom of the pot.

Garnish each bowl of chili with a touch more monterey jack cheese and serve. If you and your crew are the types who like put additional hot sauce on their chili, I highly recommend either the Tabasco Jalapeno or Chipotle Tabasco sauce to match the smokiness of this particular chili over just the plain heat of typical hot sauces.

Serves 6-8.

Like most chilies, this white chicken chili is just as good the next day, if not better — the jalapeno especially opens up overnight and the chili does become a touch spicier — so it can be prepared the night before your playoff or Super Bowl party. Refrigerate immediately after cooking and gently reheat over low heat on the stove top or grill top burner if tailgating.

Need more football watching-centric recipe ideas? Find the complete archive of Football Foodie recipes here, and all recipes that have appeared on KSK here.