White Bean Chili

I have a soft spot for this recipe. My friend, S, first made this for my family shortly after I had given birth to C. At the time, I was sleep deprived, failing at the transition to having two kids, and so mentally and physically exhausted that I couldn’t bear the thought of cooking. Thanks to the awesome moms in my neighborhood, I had dinners brought to me three times a week for a month.

I distinctly remember the evening S brought over this white bean chili. Everyone was starving, cranky and desperate for comfort and sustenance. In walked S with a big steaming pot of chili. I swear she had a halo over her. And she had an assortment of toppings for the chili: crushed tortilla chips, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, etc. It was satisfying in all the right ways, and super fun for my daughter who got to piece together her own meal. That same week, I asked S for the recipe and I have been making it ever since. Sometimes, I add cumin-rubbed, grilled chicken; other times, I opt for cumin-spiced, grilled shrimp. In either case, it’s always a hit with the family. If you’re in a pinch, you could easily chop up some store-bought rotisserie chicken.

This recipe is very, very simple, and takes hardly any time to cook. The kids have a blast scooping chili with their chips and tailoring the toppings to their liking. When I packed it for S’s lunch this morning, I put all the condiments in a separate container, so she could create the perfect combination at school.

White Bean Chili

1 TB vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 – 4 cups chicken broth
2 TB chopped fresh cilantro or 1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 TB lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp red pepper sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 bag frozen whole kernel corn
3 cans (15-16 ounces each) white beans, drained (any variety will do — cannellini, Great Northern, white navy, etc.)

2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I just toss some olive oil, cumin, and salt on some breasts and throw them on the grill.)

Heat oil in 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic in oil, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except chicken. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 20 minutes. Stir in chicken; simmer until hot.

Garnish with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, chopped green onions, diced tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, or sour cream.

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6 Comments to “White Bean Chili”

  1. Oh my goodness! This sounds absolutely amazing. Is your friend S as cute as she is culinary? If so, I want to marry her.

  2. This was a hit in my house! Yana has been wanting to make chili and since Josh doesn’t eat beef, it was nice to see a chicken based version.

  3. Yay, Laurie! That’s great. Tell Yana I’m so proud of her for making the chili.

  4. Looks delicious and healthy – will try it and see what my two girls say!

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