Sunday, September 27, 2009

White Chicken Chili


People who come to visit us in Madison, get to experience one of my favorite restaurants in town, the Hubbard Avenue Diner. They've got a chicken chili there that is just phenomenal. I don't really know how they end up with the results they do, but I decided to try to find a recipe that might come somewhat close. This recipe on Epicurious.com is one of the few creamy recipes that I found online. Hubbards recipe is thick, but now that I've made this recipe, I don't think that it's got such a base of dairy like the Epicurious recipe. The recipe I made tonight is definitely creamy and luxurious. In all, I'd make it again, but it still doesn't come close to the yumminess of Hubbard's chili.

I did make some modifications to the recipe, to make it a bit easier to prep. 1) used canned cannelini beans, drained and rinsed, 2) used a whole can of chicken broth instead of just 3/4 cups, 3) used pepper jack cheese instead of just monterey jack, 4) I used two diced chicken breasts sauteed in a skillet and lightly seasoned with chili powder and 5) omitted sour cream (creamy enough!)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound dried navy beans, picked over (I used a single can of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (I used a whole can of 33% lower sodium broth)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
  • two 4-ounce cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
  • 5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I diced two raw chicken breasts, sauteed in butter/oil mix and sprinkle of chili powder and salt, set aside until I needed to add chicken)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I omitted, felt it was creamy enough!)
Garnish: fresh coriander sprigs
Accompaniment: tomato salsa

Directions:
  1. In a large kettle soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches overnight. Drain beans in a colander and return to kettle with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cook beans at a bare simmer until tender, about 1 hour, and drain in colander.
  2. In a skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened.
  3. In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually add broth and half-and-half, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper. Add beans, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, 20 minutes. Stir sour cream into chili.
  4. Garnish chili with coriander and serve with salsa.
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