Almost White Chili -Perfect for Cold Winter Nights

chili bowl

It’s no secret that I am slightly addicted to Pinterest.  It really allows me to use the web very efficiently. The dozen of cookbooks on my shelves are marginally ignored as I have been testing recipes found on Pinterest and adapting them to my tastes at a much more rapid rate. That said, the cookbooks do still come in handy when I need to make adjustments to these experiments.

This white chili recipe originated from Add a Pinch and the major changes I made were to use white beans made from scratch. There is nothing wrong with canned beans – unless you prefer a heartier texture. Canned beans are mushy. Cooking dried beans is so simple and drastically more flavorful, not to mention much more economical. I used Bob’s Red Mill small white beans.

My version of this chili was a little more like a hearty soup. I add garlic at the end of cooking -which is something I do now with regularity. Finally, I take a corn tortilla and puree it with some of the hot broth and pour back into the chili.  As with most soups, this chili is much better the next day. Serve with all the toppings you would with a red chili – sliced avocados, hot sauce, cheese, chopped cilantro and scallions, sour cream and chips. One of my favorite accompaniments to this white chili is Tres Latin Foods Green Chili and Cheese pupusas.


The advantage of a white bean chili is simple: the absence of tomatoes makes it less acidic and for some, easier to digest.

chili ingredients

White Chicken Chili (adapted from Add a Pinch) Serves 12 


Olive oil, about 1 to 2 Tbsp.
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 cups cooked white beans with 8 cups of the pot liquor (recipe and procedure below)
1 to 2 Green Chili (Anaheim or Hatch, your choice depending on how spicy you like your chili), roasted and diced
1 medium white onions, diced
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano (it’s less aromatic than Greek)
4  cloves garlic, diced
1 corn tortilla

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Once the pot is hot, brown the things on each side. This takes about 7 to 10 minutes a side.  Don’t crowd them or they will sweat and not get brown. Remove them from the pot onto a platter.

Once all the chicken is cooked, add about 1 cup of the bean broth to the pot and scrape up all the brown bits.  This is how they should look, golden brown.

chicken bits

Pour off that liquid and add a bit more olive oil to the pan and add the onions. Once the onions soften, add the diced chilies, coriander, cumin and the chili powder and oregano. Saute until the onions are fragrant with the spices. Now add the beans and the their cooking water.

The chicken should be cool enough to handle. Either shred it into large strips of chop it into a nice dice and add to the chili pot. Stir in the diced garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the chili to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Take your corn tortilla and cut it up into little bits. Remove about 2 cups of the chili broth and place in a blender or food processor. Blend the tortilla in the broth and then pour that liquid back into the pan. Stir well, adjust seasonings to your liking.

For the white beans:
This recipe will yield 6 cups of cooked white beans. Use the remaining 2 cups in a salad or another soup.

2 cups dried Navy beans, soaked overnight (I used Bob’s Red Mill and they were perfect).
olive oil
6 cups cold water
2 Bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole, garlic
1/2 white onion, cut into big chunks
black pepper, several grinds into the pot

white beans

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Pour about 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil into the pan. It should cover the bottom. Drain the beans and place in pot with 6 cups of fresh water, the bay leaves, a few grinds of black pepper, onions and garlic.

Bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and place in the oven. Depending on where you live the beans will take anywhere between 50 minutes to and hour and 20 minutes. Check them in 45 minutes, you want them to be slightly soft, but not mushy. Allow to cool.

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