White Chicken Not-Chili

Oh Chili.

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If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that there are very few foods I won’t eat. One of those foods is chili. Yes, beloved American classic chili is my nemesis. Imagine my horror upon moving to Cincinnati to discover that one of our regional specialities is CHILI SPAGHETTI (spaghetti topped with a thin, Greek-spiced chili, then covered with shredded yellow cheese, diced onions and oyster crackers….Seriously). I’ve lived here almost 5 years and have still managed to avoid this delicacy.
Stubborn? Me? Why do you ask?

I do have an exception to my No-Chili Rule, and that is White Chicken Chili.
To me, this is A) Not chili B) Still not chili. See how my logic works? Flawless.

I discovered this recipe for White Chicken Chili ages ago on Eat, Live Run – it’s a keeper. This is more like a creamy chicken stew, which I can definitely support. Chunks of tender chicken and delicate white beans all punched up with green chiles. No trace of chili powder or anxiety here.

Over time, I’ve tweaked the recipe a few ways and made it my own, so I thought I would share my current version.  Today’s interesting twist? I eliminated all the dairy. Um, yes, I took a creamy chili and removed the “creamy.” Why? I’ve been avoiding dairy for the last two months (more on that in another post) but I still wanted that smoothness and thickness that dairy adds to a stew. Rather than using almond milk (as I usually do in recipes) I used Instant Mashed Potatoes. I KNOW. So 1973 and WEIRD. But instant mashed potatoes add a thickness and smoothness than almond milk doesn’t but is still a vegetable, low-calorie option.  I’m 500 years old. Enjoy.

White Chicken Not Chili
Adapted from Eat Live Run
Serves 8 ~ Time: 55 minutes 

1 tbs olive  oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 lb boneless skinless chicken, 1″ cubed (or leftover cooked rotisserie chicken)
1 14oz can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
2, 4 oz  cans chopped green chilies
1,  4 oz can diced jalapeños (for extra spice!), drained
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
32 oz ounces chicken broth
4 tbs instant mashed potatoes  (OR follow Eat Live Run’s recipe for the dairy additions!)

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute onion and garlic until just starting to color. Add chicken and quickly saute until chicken has turned opaque (ok if not fully cooked, chicken will finish cooking in the soup).

Add the beans, chilies,jalapeños. Toss together. Season with spices. Stir well. Slowly add chicken broth and  bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for thirty minutes.

Turn off the heat. Using a stick blender or by blending batches in a blender (careful, soup is hot and will expand!) puree about 1/2 the soup to add thickness.

Return all soup to the main pot and whisk in instant mashed potatoes. THIS WILL NOT MAKE MASHED POTATOES, it will just add additional thickness to the Not-Chili. Allow to marry for an additional 5 minutes, then serve. Top with scallions, avocado, jalapeños, or if cheese/sour cream if you wish. Serves 8. 

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Still not chili.

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