Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chili with a Twist

Let's face it. Texans love their chili. But sometimes, you just gotta switch things up. Though that doesn't mean we have to do without our chili.

I stumbled onto a white bean chili recipe a few years ago and fell in love. I haven't made it for a while. So imagine my surprise when my meat and potato boy asked me why I hadn't fixed it lately.

So, being a good mom and all, I did.

Now there are two ways you can do this. The quick and easy way, or the longer, drawn-out way. This time, I did the easy way.

Here's what you're going to need:
  • 4 - 14 1/2 oz. cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 - 14 1/2 oz. cans chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper (you can use black, white just makes it invisible)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (secret ingredient)
  • 5 cups chopped cooked chicken (grocery store rotisserie chickens are great for this)
  • 2 - 4 oz cans chopped green chilies (remember, they're not hot)
  • 1 tsp. salt
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.

Add chilies, 3 cans of broth, and seasonings. Stir together, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes to let the spices incorporate.
Now, add your beans, chicken, and the last can of broth.

Put the lid back on and simmer for 1 hour.
Serve alone, or top with sour cream, cheese, green onions, or whatever you like.

Sans the sour cream, you've got a lean, healthy meal.
Now for the real low-down. AKA, the long version. I had a whole chicken in the freezer, so I boiled it up. I not only used the meat, but the broth as well, making it very cost effective.
You can also use dried beans. Soak them overnight. Drain. Then put them in a dutch oven with 3 cans of chicken broth, the chopped onion, garlic, pepper, oregano, cumin, and cloves. Bring to a boil; cover; reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until beans are tender. Then add the last can of chicken broth, the chicken, green chilies, 1 cup of water, and the salt.
In some ways, I think the long version tastes a little bit better, but time is usually of the essence. Besides, the store I was at didn't have dried navy beans and I wasn't about to make another trip.
That's all right. No one complained. Well, I take that back. The youngest one complained. He doesn't like white bean chili. He had cereal instead. Ah, well. His loss.
So are you a long or short version kind of cook? Or does it depend on the situation?


  1. That sounds delicious, Mindy.

    For a recipe like this, I'll have to admit to being the shortcut cook. For some reason, cooking dried beans intimidates me. I guess I should just try it and get over the fear factor.

    1. They do seem intimidating, don't they, Mary? I never soak my beans. I simply do the quick soak - put 'em in pot, cover them with water by about an inch or two, and set them on to boil. Boil them for 5-10 minutes, drain, rinse and move on down the road as though you soaked them overnight. Works just fine:-)

  2. It depends on the situation for me - I like going from the dry bean stage, but I always keep canned beans on hand for quick meals.

    I also keep canned chicken in the pantry. Sams (and Walmart)carries canned white meat chicken that's just right for soups, casseroles, etc. when I have a time crunch...or when I planned a meal for three and five show up.

    And yes, that happens often at our house. I plan my menus on Fridays, but if a meeting gets canceled or work schedules change, the dinner table population changes, too!

    But another thing I've done is to can dry beans. The convenience factor is on par with buying canned beans, but I'm not sure if the cost savings are there. Now, if I canned beans I grew in my garden, then we're talking savings!

    By the way, I love white chili :)

    1. Jan, I am in awe of you. Growing your own beans. Amazing.

    2. Mindy, I haven't grown my own beans. Ever.

      A friend of mine did, though, and canned them. Since then that's been a goal.

      Now all I have to do is put in a garden (again).

  3. I've always used red kidney beans for my chili recipes. What's the difference in taste between the the white navy bean and the red kidney bean?

    I usally used canned as well. How long does it take to cook dry beans? I had a friend who would cook them for hours and hours and her walls would bleed rusty red sweat. Gross. Scared me off doing my own beans forever.

    1. Kav, you need to try it.

      Mindy talked about using the quick soak method...I always use the overnight method. But the main thing is to soak the beans. I always add a tablespoon of vinegar to the soaking water to help break down the enzymes that produce gas - and yes, it really works.

      After you soak the beans, rinse them, and then start cooking them. Forget cooking them on the stove. Use your crock pot, and add about three times more water than the volume of the beans (and check every few hours to see if you need to add more water). When we lived in the lowlands, 8-10 hours in the crock pot would cook the beans (more time for larger beans, less for smaller ones). Now that we live in higher altitudes, it takes longer.

      You can also cook them in the oven - I'm not sure how long.

      Remember in Farmer Boy, how Almanzo's mother would put the bean dish in the oven on Saturday night for Sunday dinner? She probably let those puppies bake for a good sixteen hours!

    2. Kav...what Jan said:-)

      Bleeding walls, huh? Never had that happen. I always make my pinto beans from dried beans and they take about 4 hours. Navy beans are smaller, so a couple hours should do it.

    3. Kav, I'm used to kidney beans in regular chili. But I think the white beans work better for this white chili.

      And I always use canned beans. :)

  4. Thanks Jan. I'll have to try that. I never would have thought of using the crock pot. Great idea.

    1. Isn't she amazing. If I knew half of what she forgot I'd way ahead of the game:-)

    2. Oh, that's scary thinking of the things I've forgotten. I wonder what they could have been?

      Some ladies at church asked me if there's anything I don't do. My answer? "Sleep".

      Seriously, if there's something I don't know how to do, I learn. I've never been afraid to try new things.

      Except skydiving and spelunking. No to both.

  5. I love this idea and must make it! This is ingenious and I don't know if I can eat it, but Dave will love it!

    Bleeding walls... Oh, that's just gross and bizarre.... I love bean soup, it's a favorite of mine, and this is a great twist. I always do the "quick soak" too, partially because I'm always rushing. But I'm not always thinking ahead. So the quick soak works here.

    Can't wait to try this with fresh bread.

    1. I have six loaves of bread in the oven. Right now.

      Guess what we're having for supper :)

    2. Jan, would you stop that, please? :-)

  6. YUM!

    I'm a fan of white bean anything but hubby doesn't think any kind of bean is the RIGHT bean unless it's pinto. So, he'd probably eat it... probably.

    I would gobble this up!

  7. P.S. We have a pot of beans cooking or in the fridge all the time.

    And I sort, rinse, boil for 30 minutes, and then cook for 3 hours. Only add the salt at the end to keep the skins from getting tough.

    Two cloves of garlic boiled with the beans. And then they turn into refried or just regular (with boiled cactus and corn tortillas).

    We can have a fridge full of food, but if there are no beans, 'there's no food'.

    1. Oooh, garlic boiled with the beans! I'm totally doing that next time!

    2. I'm the only bean lover in my house. Everyone else just tolerates them. It's such a bummer!

  8. This looks so good, Mindy!! But man, that must've been a huge batch!! :) I'll make half that much for our little family of 4 (at the moment).

    1. It's not as big as you'd think. Yes, there are leftovers, so if you don't think you'd want them, then halving the recipe might be just right.