Monday, October 3, 2011

They Call Me Chilly Willy

The temperature has plummeted here on the east coast in the last few days.  And while Hubby is down right giddy that he gets to wear sweatshirts and shorts again, I'm not adjusting as well. While ensconced in fleece pajamas and a down comforter, the only thing that could get me out of my bed was the idea of making this white chicken chili.

I am a really picky chili eater.  I don't like it when it is too spicy or if the meat is too rubbery.  Before I created this recipe I actually really hated chicken chili.  The ground chicken would always get too rubbery and the spices would be too concentrated.  But then one day I decided to combine chicken stew with chicken chili and have never turned back.

You begin with this pot

Well, it doesn't have to be this exact pot.  But you want to use a dutch oven.  I've always lusted over Le Creuset and their wide selection of various colored cast iron enamel pots.  But the price tag is just a bit out of my budget.  And then one day while in Home Goods, I spotted this lovely little cast iron enameled dutch oven made by The Palm restaurant group.  (BTW,  anyone looking for a birthday present for me, I covet ALL of The Palm bakeware and tableware at Home Goods)

To this pot (with oil heating on high) add 1lb of boneless skinless chicken breasts that have been seasoned with salt and pepper.

Little tip from Rachel Ray: While the chicken is in the package, salt and pepper one side.  Plop them into the pot and then salt and pepper the other side.  This way you don't cross contaminate the salt and pepper or have to wash your hands over and over.

While the chicken is searing on one side, give an onion a rough chop.

After about 5 minutes, turn the chicken breasts.  If the chicken doesn't lift up easily, it isn't ready yet.

After another 5 minutes, remove the chicken breasts to a plate and throw the chopped onions into the same pot.

See all that brown on the bottom of the pot.  That is very very good stuff.

Pour in the beans, undrained.  For this day I used Cannellinni beans because I panicked in the store and forgot what I usually use - small white beans.  Oops.  It still tasted good though.

When you add the beans in, take a few moments to stir them around and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of your pot.

Next add chicken broth to the bean can.  This will allow you to get the last of the remaining beans stuck to the bottom.  And then pour this into the pot too.  Once again stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to pull up all that flavor from the chicken.

Next pour in the seasoning.  You could - of course - create your own spice mix, but why fix what a'int broke.  McCormick's makes this delicious white chicken chili mix and stocks it in my closest super market.  Sadly, its not available every where.  Which is why my mother in law stocks up every time she visits.

Stir the seasoning into the beans and broth and bring it all to a boil before adding the chicken breast back in.  You want to definitely remember to pour in all the juices that have settled on the plate where the chicken has been resting.

Finally, pour in a little more chicken broth just to cover the chicken breasts.

Cover the pot and put it into an oven set to 325 degrees.

After about 45 minutes, the liquid has reduced and thickened and the flavors have melded and the chicken is all tender and delicious.

Remove the chicken breasts to a plate and using two forks, shred the chicken breasts.

Once the chicken is all shredded, add it back into the liquid and stir it together.

Let this rest for a few moments just to let all the juices come together.  You can also chose to let the liquid thicken a bit more by leaving the pot on low for a while longer.

Or if you are like me and can't wait anymore, you'll serve it up as is.

Yum! The perfect bowl of warming comfort on this frigid day.

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