White Bean and Chicken Chili: Waiting for Autumn

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I couldn’t wait any longer.

It’s still kind of warm outside. In fact, the warm weather just won’t go away, but I no longer care. I had to make White Bean and Chicken Chili. I usually wait until the last couple weeks of September, when the air starts to get a little crisp, and the corn and tomatoes go away. I start to want to make food that cooks slowly on the stove, food that fills up the house with wonderful smells. It is then that I typically bring out a treasured recipe my sister Claudia created years ago, after she moved to Texas. It was one of the very first recipes we featured on our website foodphilosopher.com back in the fall of 2003. We love it so much we also put it in The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook, which we published seven years later.

I called to tell her I was making it and, frankly, just between you and me, I think she was a bit jealous.

“It’s so hot, it’s still in the 90’s down here,” she said. “But now I guess I’m gonna have to make it!”

She missed it, too. The recipe is a favorite of ours for a lot of reasons: It tastes really GOOD! It smells wonderful when it cooks. People always come back for more. And it connects us to one another (it was one of the first recipes we wrote about for our website when it was new). 

Food can have a lot of meaning outside of simply nourishing our bodies. White Bean and Chicken Chili never fails to make me feel close to my little sister- even if she is more than 1000 miles away.

And nostalgia aside, the short description we wrote for it years ago still rings true today:

Leave those images of red beans and ground round behind and try our delicious White Bean Chicken Chili. We let tomatillos and green chili peppers take the spotlight. This is a very special chili that you’ll find yourself craving again and again.

So don’t wait any longer for autumn to start. Make some of your own strong connections with this very special chili.

from The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook

Like all chili, this can be made ahead of time. I like to  serve it with warm homemade corn muffins.
Find gluten-free corn muffin recipe here

Serves 4
Recipe can be doubled or tripled

4 medium size tomatillos
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1 inch chunks (dark meat gives a richer flavor)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-14 ounce can low sodium chicken broth
3 cups cooked cannellini beans (about 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
1 fresh jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup whole green chili peppers (about 4), charred and chopped (if using canned, drain liquid)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place tomatilloes on baking pan (lined with foil for an easy clean up), roast 10 minutes or until lightly brown and allow to cool. When cool, puree or mash. Set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large saucepan (5-6 quart). Sauté onions and garlic over medium heat until soft. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. Heat remaining oil in the same saucepan. Add chicken and sauté over medium-high heat until sides are lightly browned. Add cumin, oregano, onions and garlic and stir for one minute.

4. Add chicken broth, white beans, jalapeno, green chili peppers and roasted tomatilloes. Bring to boil and then simmer partially covered for 1 hour. Chili should have the consistency of a thick stew.

5. Stir in salt and cilantro; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chili can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for up to three days in a tightly sealed container. Leftovers can be stored in refrigerator for up to three days and freezer for up to 4 weeks in a tightly sealed container. Rewarm over medium-high heat.





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