/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » tasty tuesday: white chili that rocks!

I start this post off with an apology.  I was not put together enough when I made it to take photos of the steps along the way, and it was just too darned tasty to remember to take a photo of the final product before we devoured it.  I blame The Damsel for this – I tweaked her original recipe and holy COW it is good.  :)

There are several things I’ve done old skool style; you don’t have to make a bone broth yourself (but I’ll include directions if you want to), and you don’t have to use dried beans if you don’t want to, but your budget and tummy will thank you if you decide to do so.

I also used leftover turkey from Thanksgiving in this recipe; you could easily use regular chicken meat (chopped roughly or shredded).  Any white meat would work, but the broth is a chicken broth, so whatever you choose should blend well with chicken.

Bone broth is rich and heartier than its more anemic cousin, the regular chicken broth.  It has more minerals and health benefits, because it cooks longer than regular broth and uses a bit of acid to leach more from the bones, but it also has the flavours and nutrients of the vegetables in the pot as well.  I strengthen my chicken broth by added in chicken feet (yes, I know it’s gross.  But it’s SO good!), and the broth is rich, hearty, and healing.  I highly recommend it, although it took me a while to get over my squeamishness.  :)

Soaking beans is an easy proposition – and takes almost no effort at all.  For this recipe, you’ll use about 1.5 cups of dried white beans.  Place them in a bowl after you’ve rinsed them and examined them for loose rocks – because even if you use a pressure cooker, a stone is still hard & will still break your teeth.  Soak the beans in 5 cups of water and walk away.  You can soak them overnight or the better part of 8 hours, your choice.

Once your beans are soaked (and they’ll look wrinkly and considerably bigger when they’re done), you’ll need to cook them.  Most people don’t realize that canned beans are put in a can dry and then soak in water, getting a bit of heat from the canning process on the assembly line.  Even canned beans aren’t really cooked when you open up the can.  You need to cook them to get the full flavour and texture of the beans.  Whether you use canned or soaked beans, drain and rinse them in a colander, place them in a pot, and get ready to cook them until they are as tender as you’d like.  I like my white beans quite soft, so I cook them longer than most, but that will be up to you.

If you want to make your own broth, here are the directions:

  • one chicken, minus the meat (in other words, the bones/carcass)
  • 3 or 4 chicken feet, washed
  • half a tomato
  • 5 or 6 tops of celery stalks (I chop them off of celery we eat and freeze them for this purpose)
  • 2 medium carrots or 1 large carrot, washed & trimmed at the ends
  • 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 6 peppercorns, whole
  • 3 T. dill seasoning
  • 1 T. sea salt
  • 2 T. vinegar or lemon juice
  • water

Place these ingredients in a stock pot or pressure cooker.  Bring the water level to 3/4 of the pot’s level and begin to heat to a boil.  If you have time and opt not to use a pressure cooker, once this boils, you can let it cook all day on low.  If you don’t have time and/or use a pressure cooker, lower the temperature of the stove until your regulator jiggles consistently and slowly.  Cook in a PC for at least 5-6 hours (which is the equivalent of about 15 hours of simmering in a regular pot – and honestly, I tend to cook mine in a PC even longer; I readily go 8-12 hours at 15lbs of pressure).  When you’re ready, strain the goodies out of the broth and use the delicious golden goodness in your soups, stews, chilis, or stash in the freezer for future use.

Back to the chili recipe.

Place your drained/rinsed beans in the pot where you’ll make the deliciousness and add in the chicken/turkey meat to the quantity you’d like.  Add in about 5 cups of broth, 3 cloves of garlic, and stir.  Toss in two cans of chopped green chiles, although if you happen to have roasted and chopped chiles in your freezer (as I do), that will more than adequately work as well.

The next ingredient will be up to your tastes.  We like spicy food.  Cumin is our friend.  But as The Damsel says, it’s much easier to add cumin than it is to subtract it.  So go 1 teaspoon at a time until it’s got a flavour you like.  The Damsel added between 1 and 3 teaspoons; I added 6.  (I told you we like cumin.) Stir well and toss in salt & pepper to your taste as well.

The last step is to cook this until the beans are at your desired texture.  I cooked mine on medium, stirring regularly, for about 1 hour, but I pre-cooked my beans in my pressure cooker.  If you don’t PC your beans, you’ll want to cook it longer.  To thicken it up, mix 1-2 tablespoons of cornmeal with 1 cup of milk and add it about 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with cheese, sour cream, and large spoons – your family will gobble this up!

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