white bean chicken chili

White Bean Chicken Chili

This creamy white bean chili is nutritious comfort food! My favorite kind. Pureed white beans add thickness in place of a butter/flour roux, and though there is a bit of heavy cream at the end, the amount per serving is minimal. And you can certainly leave it out, but it adds some sweetness and a silky smooth texture.

This is an update to an old blog post that was more complicated than it needed to be and had the worst photo on the site. Simplification is a good thing, more often than not. If the list of spices is daunting to you, use a good chili powder with a mix of chili peppers, oregano, cumin, and garlic. If you don’t have (or like) cilantro, it’s not a deal-breaker. Use your taste buds to determine what works for you.

Our holidays might be a little more simple than usual this year. I’m focusing on the positive aspects and, hopefully, helping my girls do the same. Tradition is great, and we love our big family gatherings, but it’s also good to know we can make new traditions and enjoy the gifts that come from having less. As I like to say, we will make our own fun, dammit! I hope you can do the same and create some wonderful new memories. And, of course, if you are able to gather as usual with extended family, I hope that is fabulous too!

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White Bean Chicken Chili

(about 10 servings)

1 tablespoon olive, corn, or canola oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 teaspoon salt (add more at the end if needed)

2 teaspoons dried cilantro flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried ground chili pepper (I used New Mexico red chili, you could also use ancho, etc.)

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

dash of cayenne pepper (use more or less for spicy heat)

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 bay leaf

*1 pound (approximately) chicken, cooked and chopped, skin removed

7 ounces canned mild green chiles

4 cups chicken stock or broth

2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, one pureed

30 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Garnishes (optional)

shredded cheese

sour cream or Greek yogurt

green chile salsa (505 Southwestern is awesome, found it at Costco)

fresh cilantro

hot pepper sauce

*I used a whole smoked chicken. A rotisserie chicken would also work well or you can just use boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs.

smoked chicken

Place the cooking oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot then add the onions and celery. Add salt and cook over medium heat, stirring often.

Gather the herbs and spices listed, from the cilantro to the white pepper, and add them to the onions and celery while they cook. They should be getting soft and translucent before the next step.

Chop the garlic and add it, along with the bay leaf, to the cooked onions and celery. Stir and cook for a couple minutes then add the chopped chicken and green chiles.

Add the chicken stock and allow it to heat up, on medium-high heat, stirring often.

white bean chicken chili

Meanwhile, puree one can of the cannellini beans, with its liquid, in a blender or food processor. Stir the pureed beans into the chili.

Rinse and drain the other can of cannellini beans along with the garbanzo beans and add them to the chili.

Add the heavy whipping cream. Taste it and add more salt or cayenne pepper if necessary. Allow the chili to simmer over low-medium heat for about an hour. It will thicken a bit more as it cooks.

Garnish and enjoy!

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for a few days and freeze well.

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. Laura Ingalls Wilder