Last Saturday, Scott and I spent a good few hours at Barnes and Noble. He was leaving for St. Louis Sunday afternoon and had a lot of work to do. I did no work- even though I had a bag full of papers to grade- but, instead took the time to just write, read, and research. Eventually, we got hungry and I started thinking about dinner. I wanted something super comforting, and since it was going on 6 o'clock, I needed something that wouldn't take hours to prepare. I was at a good place for inspiration, and when looking through Chef Magazine, I saw a bowl of red chili. Instantly, I thought of something I'd oddly craved for years, but have never eaten before in my life. White Chicken Chili. I'd thought about making it several times with Quorn, but never did. Now that I was working some meat back into my menu, it was time.
I spent a little time looking through cookbooks, and also did a little online searching until I'd taken all I'd seen, added my own preferences, and came up with the recipe I would use. I made my grocery list, and we hit up the Martin's that was right next door.
When we got home, I started by chopping the organically vegetarian anti-biotic free chicken tenders into small bite size pieces and dropped them into my sturdy saute pan with about 3 TBSP of EVOO. Next, I added a chopped yellow onion and about 6 large garlic cloves that I put through a press. I cooked it until the chicken wasn't pink anymore and the onion and six cloves of garlic were filling the air with promise. Time to take it off the heat. I stirred it with a wooden spoon the whole time, and that helped shred the chicken a bit for me.
Next came out my Le Cresuet. I put in another TBSP of EVOO along with about a teaspoon of coriander and 2 heaping teaspoons of cumin. I let the spices soak up the oil and toast a bit before adding 3 finely diced jalepanos. I actually planned to put one habanero and one jalepeno in this chili, but Martin's had no habaneros. Next was a chopped anaheim- I wanted to use a poblano, but again, Martin's had none. The japs and anaheim did the job just fine.
I added about 3/4 of a box of vegetable stock. (I imagine chicken stock might add more depth, but I'm not all gung ho about eating meat, so I'd prefer to use veggie stock, even if I am cooking meat. This is the first time I cooked chicken in almost 10 years. It was a little weird for me.) I juiced a lime and added the juice. I let all of this come to a boil for about 10 minutes before adding about a cup of frozen baby sweet corn kernels, two cans of rinsed navy beans, and the chicken/onion/garlic mixture. I let it come to a nice rolling boil before I backed it off to a simmer. I gave it about 25 minutes to do its thing before adding a handful of chopped cilantro. Heat off.
When it cooled a bit and was ready to serve, I ladled a huge servings into my favorite soup bowls, which had belonged to Grandma Phoebe. I topped the chili with some jalapeno jack cheese, some sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and a few cilantro leaves. We had a some Snyder's White Corn Tortilla Chips on the side. The chili was delicious and every bit as comforting as I needed it to be. The heat was just enough, the balance came with the cilantro and lime juice, and the sour cream and Jalapeno Jack completed the texture. Scott was happy, and as he filled his bowl with a second helping, I felt sure he'd return to me from the Midwest.
I also think I finally understand the previously inexplicable cravings I had for this dish, and am quite sure I will want it again very soon.