Chicken and White Bean Southwestern Chili

Remember Beyond Bread? Well,they didn’t just serve sandwiches. They served the most delicious homemade soups that I had ever tasted in a casual restaurant. Creamy tomato soup, steaming with ribbons of fragrant basil. Baked potato soup loaded with sharp cheddar cheese and peppery hunks of soft potatoes. And green chile and corn chowder, teeming with piquant green chiles and tender shredded chicken.

This is my ode to that. It isn’t a chowder, but it takes the main elements of the dish – minus the corn(because summer corn was so sweet that I can’t bear to use canned corn yet) – and reworks them into a spicy, hearty chili. Don’t go easy on the seasonings here – you really want a riot of flavor in your mouth.

That’s what she said.

Chicken and White Bean Chile

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chicken

1 can white beans, drained

1 cup chicken broth

1 4.5 oz. can diced green chiles

2 jalapenos, chopped

2 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1 tbsp. each coriander and oregano

2 tbsp. cumin

1/2 tbsp. salt

pepper to taste

1 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup cleaned and chopped cilantro

garnishes (cheese, sour cream, scallions, etc)

1. Heat the butter in a high sided pan over medium high heat until it starts to melt.

2. Add the onion, garlic, and all spices.

When you combine them all, the onions should immediately start to small fragrant and spicy.

3. After about 10 minutes, when the onions are starting to become translucent, add the chicken.

 

Really mash it around in there, then let it cook for about 10 minutes, or till it is totally brown and the onions have turned soft.

4. Now, add the jalapenos,

the canned beans and chiles,

and the chicken broth.

5. Now, turn the heat on high and let the whole mixture boil away for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid has really reduced to almost nothing. Go back and stir every 5 minutes to make sure that the chicken does not burn on the bottom of the pan. If it looks like the sauce is not reducing, just let it keep boiling.

Eventually, the liquid will be almost totally gone, leaving the dish looking more like chili than soup.

6. Right before serving, throw in the cilantro.

7. Give it a stir…

assemble your fixins, and…

7. Serve.

This chili is better than the original dish that inspired it.  It is more robust, brighter, zestier. The chicken is juicy, the beans are creamy, and the chips jalapenos with the smoky canned chiles make for a great textural contrast. It is spicy, smoky, acidic, sour, and hearty. It is ideal with sour cream and cheddar cheese, and because it isn’t too heavy or salty, it lends itself well to second or third helpings.

Beyond Bread still has the best sandwiches on earth. But their soups might now have to be satisfied with second place.