Friday, December 26, 2014

White Chicken Chile

by Sheila Connolly

‘Twas the night after Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…  Well, except for Oliver the cat, who is always hunting for anything resembling food. He’s not picky.

It’s Boxing Day. What? In the past, this was the day when all those poor servants and tradespeople, who had worked so hard on the rich folks’ holiday parties, received their presents in a “Christmas Box.” It’s a bank holiday in many countries. In Ireland it’s also called Wren’s Day, which used to involved a dead wren and a bunch of guys in weird costumes—sounds a bit like Halloween, which is probably not all that strange because both events may reflect pre-Christian solstice celebrations. (In case you missed it, the winter solstice took place last Sunday.)

End of history lesson. Today I’m talking about something not related to any ancient lore: white chicken chile. This is a hearty and heart-warming dish for a cold winter’s evening, and also a good way to use up turkey leftovers. I warn you up front, take your statins! You may notice that stick of butter and two cups of half-and-half in this recipe, but that’s what makes it so rich and creamy. (If you want a healthier chicken chile, see my recipe here

White Chicken Chile

2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained

1 large onion, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. white pepper, or to taste
two 4-ounce cans whole mild green chilies, 
drained and chopped
2-3 cups leftover chicken or turkey, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup sour cream

Fresh coriander for garnish

In a skillet melt 2 Tblsp of the butter and cook the chopped onion over moderate heat until it is softened but not browned.

In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt the remaining 6 Tblsp. butter over moderately low heat and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the cooked onion and gradually add broth and half-and-half, whisking constantly until smooth.

Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until it thickens. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper. (Taste for seasoning—you may want more kick.)

Add beans, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack cheese and cook the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.

Garnish with coriander. If you want it a bit spicier, you can serve it with salsa.

An Early Wake, arriving February 3rd! There will be music, and parties...and a body.

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  1. Can't wait for An Early Wake!

  2. Replies
    1. It is indeed. If I were a dog I might roll in it (but it tastes too good for that).

    2. I guess, if you were a dog, you could roll in it and then lick it off! The best of both!

  3. Looks delicious and a great antidote to all the Christmas flavors.

  4. We love this dish and your take on it looks great. Thanks for the recipe, Sheila.

    ~ Cleo

  5. Who wants healthy at this time of year? Bring on the butter and cream!

  6. This looks really good and healthy all great for us. Thank you for sharing :).