Restaurant Worthy: White Chicken Chili

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I don't know what it is with me and cooking but sometimes it takes a few times to perfect a recipe before it's actually up to my serving standards. Maybe it's because I'm picky and worked in the restaurant business for too long, maybe it's because I have a hard time following recipes, or maybe it's because I get so inspired with add in's that I lose my mind and my dish becomes a mess pot? Either way a great chef has to experiment every once and while and learn from their mistakes.

Every time we go out to restaurants I am confused as to why their chicken chili is so good and mine kind of (actually) really sucks! This has always bothered me that I couldn't figure out their "secret recipe" (which probably comes from a thawed out bag.) With a chili cook off as my inspiration I got to work! I've made white chicken chili multiple times in the past and it never comes out right. It was always watery and the solids would sink to the bottom and I felt like I was eating spicy chicken broth not chili. I've tried adding flour or corn starch to thicken it up with no luck. I decided to challenge myself and make something restaurant worthy.

Finally I reviewed about 30 different recipes pulling what I liked and thought would work from each one and I finally think I've figured it out. I know it's good too because I made this twice in the same day and had almost no leftovers both times!

Note to self: Don't rub your eyes without thoroughly washing your hands with hot soapy water. These peppers are spiccccyyy!!!

Grocery store list:
Meat and Produce
-1 whole roasted chicken (the ready made kind)
-1-2 green peppers
-2 poblano peppers
-1 large sweet onion (white)
-1 jalapeno
-1 serrano pepper (only if you like really spicy!!!)
-1 bundle cilantro
-1-2 limes
- 4 Fresh garlic cloves (do not use powder!!!)

Canned Items 
-2 14 oz cans navy or great northern beans rinsed and drained. Crush 1 can of beans with a potato masher. This will help make your chili thicker without compromising flavor. (no sodium added if you can find them)
-1 can of diced green chilies (small can)
-1 large can of chicken stock (not broth) about 1 quart.

Dairy and Toppings
- Heavy cream (small container)
- Sour cream
- Shredded Monteray Jack Cheese
- Tortilla chips
- Fresh or frozen corn (for topping)

Things you probably have on hand:
- 3 teaspoons Chili powder (hot mexican chili powder is good too)
- A few shakes or a few leaves chopped Oregano (fresh if you have it)
- 1 tablespoon Cumin
- Cayanne pepper
- 2 teaspoons Ground coriander (I like to buy them whole and crush them as needed)
- Canola oil or butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste

Prep work: 
Start by laying out all of your ingredients in a working spot. Preheat the oven to 500 or a high broil. Put the poblano peppers in the oven on a foil lined cookie sheet and check every few minutes. (you can do this while your starting the other steps) You want them to be charred black but not completely compromised. If your are broiling them you will need to also flip every few minutes. Just think the more black stuff you get the more roasty flavor your chili will have. Once you've reached this point put the peppers directly in a tightly sealed zip lock bag or tight sealed container. Set aside.
In your work station set up a cutting board. Wash your vegetables, beans (don't forget to crush 1 cans worth), and open all of the cans. Grab a large plate and shred the rotisserie chicken with your hands or use 2 forks. You don't want any of the skin and the shreds need to be cube size so you can eat it easily with a spoon. If they are too long it would be like trying to eat spaghetti with a spoon. Set aside.
Get to choppin'!! You will need even sized dice cuts of green pepper and onion. With the jalapeno and serrano you need to be careful. The idea is to get the smallest cuts in the fewest chops. Like the size of a popcorn kernel. (google videos "how to dice jalapeno" for help.) The more you chop the spicier your making them because the knife releases the juices in the seeds. If spicy is not your thing at all? Scoop out all of the white and seeds in the pepper and rinse. This way you will still get flavor without heat. Garlic you will want to make the same size or smaller. If you are not using a crock pot you will need to cook the green pepper, jalapeno, onion and garlic in about 2 tablespoons of butter until soft before adding other ingredients.
The poblano peppers should now be cool enough for you to handle. If not rinse in cool water as you peel off the leathery part of the skin. Rinse off all the seeds, stems, and dice to the size of the green peppers and onions.


The chili begins!!

  • You can take the easy way out and add everything on this list to the crock pot. It will need to cook on low for the full 8+ hours to get good. Dairy products do not go in the pot until shortly before serving but please add some butter or oil. Don't forget lime juice squeeze of one lime. Add cream to taste. Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, lime wedge, cheese, fresh chopped cilantro.


  • You can use a large cast iron pot. Start by melting butter or oil in the pan. Add garlic, green pepper, onion, spicy peppers and cook for a few minutes on medium heat. Add spices, chicken, poblano pepper, lime juice squeeze of one lime, green chilis, and stock. Bring to boil. Let simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Add cream to taste. Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, lime wedge, cheese, fresh chopped cilantro. You will need to cook the green pepper, jalapeno, onion and garlic in about 2 tablespoons of butter until soft before adding other ingredients. 

-You could make it with another type of pot. It will not be as good.

-Don't forget about the spicy peppers. You can always add more but cannot take away (unless you like a lot of sour cream) 

Do not feel the need to adhere perfectly to the recipe. These are really just guidelines. I mean don't go adding 7 tablespoons of chili powder unless your into that sort of thing. Have some common sense with it and have fun!! I always say that home cooking is the best because it's just a little different every time.


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