Don’t get me wrong – I love sharing the kitchen. Nothing beats having two sets of hands when things get busy. But today I have the kitchen to myself. While still technically unfinished (the flooring and painting are next), I’m done waiting for the ribbon cutting. The big “first meal” will have to wait a little bit longer, but I’m ready to get back in there.
So what’s for dinner tonight? That’s easy: my mom’s chicken chili (my partner in crime has an open petition to change the name to something like “white bean and chicken soup” or “french white bean cassoulet” since this dish isn’t what you’d picture a hearty chili to be, but I’ll let you decide what to call it). I’ve always known it to be a family recipe – one that’s been tweaked over the years by each new cook. To me it smells like home. And on a cloudy day like today, I need a warm reminder of home.
Chicken Chili (6-8 servings)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs olive oil
3, 15 ounce cans navy/white beans (or 4 1/2 cups pre-soaked and cooked dry beans)
3-4 ounces chicken broth
1 tbs chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1, 4 ounce can mild chillies (or 1 fresh, diced Anaheim chile)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion and garlic in oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Drain and rinse beans, add to pot, and cover with chicken broth (I use 4 ounces for soup or 3 ounces for a thicker chili). Add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer 3 minutes. Incorporate chicken and chillies and let simmer 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.
This chili is fantastic with some crusty bread and a glass of white wine. The flavors will continue to grow over time, so this is a great do-ahead lunch option for a cold winter week.