White Bean Chicken Chili

It's the time of year in DC where you're never sure about the weather. One week it will be 70 degrees and sunny, the next it's back down to 40 with threats of snow during the night. Today is a beautiful 60 degrees and sunny. It was the perfect day to go for a walk along the trail near my house and take in the cherry blossoms there (no need to battle the tourists at the Tidal Basin).

Last week, with the cold weather, I ended up making chili (most likely my last chili until winter rolls back around). This was the Serious Eats recipe for their best white bean chicken chili that used all fresh ingredients, no canned condensed chicken soup or canned Ortega chilies like most of us might be used to seeing. This was a wonderful recipe that was hearty and full of flavor. It's not that much extra work and it creates something that is so much better than it might be if you did it the short way. It's probably too late to make this this year, but keep it in your arsenal for the future. I'm sure it won't disappoint when the first feelings of fall come back.

  • 1lb dry navy beans
  • 3 whole poblano chilis
  • 3 whole Anaheim chilis
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 onion
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 pickled jalapeno plus 2 Tbsp pickling liquid  (or some homemade pickled peppers)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro stems
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup or so greek yogurt
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • cilantro leaves, sliced radishes, pepperjack cheese, limes etc for garnish
  1. Cover beans with 1 gallon of water and 1/4 cup of salt and let soak overnight.
  2. Roast chilis over fire until blackened on all sides. Place in a bag to steam off the skins. Cut onion in half and roast over fire (or under broiler) with garlic until charred and fragrant, but not burned.
  3. Place onion, pickled pepper, cilantro stems and garlic in a blender. Peel peppers in chicken stock, leaving the skins and seeds in the bowl to soak for 10 minutes. Place pepper flesh in the blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Heat a little oil in a dutch oven and add cumin, stirring until fragrant. Add pepper mixture and cook until incorporated. Strain chicken stock into pot, pressing out the seeds and skins.
  5. Drain beans and add to the pot with chicken breasts. Simmer until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and continue simmering beans 1 1/2 hours until cooked and tender.
  6. Remove 2 cups of beans and liquid to a blender and blend until smooth. Stir back into the pot and add shredded chicken breasts, picking liquid, lime juice and yogurt. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with appropriate garnishes.