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White Chicken Chili

I can’t remember the exact first time I made this, but it was shortly before New Year’s Eve and we liked it so much that I made it again for our New Year’s Eve party. This was sort of the beginning of the whole cooking schitck for me. I decided to make this after really enjoying some white chicken chili at a restaurant. My thought was, “I bet I could make this.” I looked up a recipe and ended up making the one I found on Now I make it every year on New Year’s Eve. I’ve made a few changes over the years, but not many. Mostly I added more cream and some fresh jalapeños. the recipe below makes 6-8 servings, but I always double it for the New Year’s Eve gathering. One of our New Year’s Eve regulars told me that he looks forward to this chili every year.


1/2 pound dried navy beans, picked over OR 2 cans of your favorite brand of Navy Beans, drained (see note)

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 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste

3 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste

two 4-ounce cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped

5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 fresh jalapeño , seeded and diced


In a large kettle soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches overnight. Drain beans in a colander and return to kettle with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cook beans at a bare simmer until tender, about 1 hour, and drain in colander. NOTE:  This is why the canned beans are much easier and I honestly don’t think it makes much  of a difference. The dry beans end up with a little more texture in the end, but the flavor is the same.

In a skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened.

In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually add broth and half-and-half, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper.

Add beans, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, 20 minutes. At this point you can turn the heat all the way down let the chili not quite simmer until you are ready to eat.

Stir sour cream into chili a few minutes before serving.

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