Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Chili Contest Winner: White Chicken Chili

Originally uploaded by fivecatsonedognokids

I belong to a women’s social group that meets once a month. We call ourselves the LAFF group. I’ve been doing this for two years now and I’ve come to really look forward to our monthly get-togethers.

This month, we met at Nancy’s new home — one of our members who is a real estate agent. The theme was a “Chili Cook-Off Contest”. Four people brought crock-pot chilis but we did not know who. Each chili entry had its “secret name”: White Lightning, Hillbilly Chili, Hot Chick’s Chili, etc.

Well the winner was the White Lighting Chili which was a white chicken chili. It was the overwhelming favorite by all.

The interesting story here is that it was brought by Carolyn (an attorney raised in New York City, now living in Dayton Ohio) who has never eaten chili in her life (I know, this is simply unbelievable) and she made this recipe because it was the winner at another chili cookoff that her neighborhood had.

So, what is the recipe, you ask? I am going to give you the general ingredients, but as you know, any good cook who makes chili never really measures and always adds other things to make it their own.

White Chicken Chili

2 Chicken breasts (with bones)
4 small jars of salsa (medium hot)
2 large glass jars of white navy beans
shredded mozarella for the topping

That’s it. Cook the chicken in water. Debone and shred the chicken. Reuse the chicken broth for the chili stock base. Add the salsa and beans. Top with shredded mozarella.

I could see you adding onions, cilantro, garlic, sour cream — the list is endless.

So, the moral of this story is: If you want to REALLY win a chili contest, be sure to do your research and pick a proven recipe winner.

  1. LAFF sounds like a lot of fun.
    I have a recipe for white chili, I will look for it. It uses green tomatillos instead of red tomato sauce and white beans. Maybe I’ll make some next week. I’ve been in a chili mood. Later I am making vegetable soup.

  2. I have made this twice since posting the “recipe” here and you simply can’t mess it up. Turns out that the bones are not all the important for making the broth. Tastes great with boneless chicken breasts. So healthy!

  3. My variation of White Chicken Chili is quite different from yours. Enjoy:

    1 t. olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
    1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
    1 T. minced fresh jalapeno
    1.5 t. ground cumin
    1 (15-oz) can cream-style corn
    1 (7-oz) can diced mild green chiles
    2 c whole milk
    1 (15-oz) can navy beans, rinsed and drained
    2 c shredded cooked chicken
    1.5 c (4-oz) shredded cheddar cheese

    In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add onion, pepper, and jalapeno and cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add cumin, corn, green chiles, milk, and navy beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cheddar cheese and serve immediately.

  4. Casia, may I take the liberty of suggesting a few substitutions for the benefits of our readers concerned with calories and fat? Instead of whole milk, try skim. Instead of stirring in the cheese, use it as a garnish on top — you’ll use less.

  5. Here’s my improvised white chicken chili.

    1 32 oz. carton low-sodium chicken broth

    2 frozen skinless & boneless chicken thighs*

    6 oz. prepared green chile salsa (salsa verde)

    1 4 oz can of diced green chiles

    1/2 tsp kosher salt

    2 cans white kidney beans (cannelini beans), drained & rinsed

    2 Yukon gold or any potato, in medium dice

    freshly ground pepper

    grated cheese, limes

    Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the frozen chicken thighs*. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Then cook on low simmer for 30 minutes more.

    Before serving, remove the chicken and shred or dice.

    Pour into bowls and garnish with grated cheese, finely chopped cilantro, and a squirt of lime as desired.

    Always tastes better and becomes more thick the next day.

    *You can use any cut of chicken that you want. I prefer thighs over breasts because thighs have far more flavor than breasts and maybe an extra fat gram (but it’s worth it to me). You could even use leftover rotisserie chicken.

  6. I have found that I like the chicken shredded because of the texture in the mouth – softer than cut cubes. Shredding chicken is easy. Just take two forks and pull the hot, cooked meat in opposite directions on the cutting board, separating the muscle fibers.

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