White Chicken Chili

As promised, I tried the White Chicken Chili recipe from the January 2007 issue of Cook’s Illustrated for my family pre-Christmas dinner. Everybody loved the chili — it worked great with cornbread — but I had to make a few adjustments to the recipe as a I cooked to get it to better suit what I was looking for in a chili. Since I’ve altered the recipe, I feel like I can publish it here. Note that I haven’t fully tested all of the adjustments. So if you try it and have further improvements, please post them in the comments, because this is definitely a recipe I want to incorporate into my regular repertoire.

White Chicken Chili

Serves: 6-8
Time to make: ~1 hour

  • 2 lbs. bone-in chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 poblano chiles, coarsely chopped
  • 2 anaheim chiles, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 minced jalapeno
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. Southwest seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cans cannellini (white navy beans)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • lime wedges, minced scallions, minced jalapeno and shredded cheddar to garnish
  • food processor
  1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high
  2. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 4 minutes per side
  3. Remove the chicken to a plate and let cool; discard the skin
  4. In a food processor, process together the chiles and onions to the consistency of salsa
  5. Return the pot over medium heat
  6. Add the chile mixture to the pot with the jalapeno, garlic and seasoning
  7. Cook, covered, 10 minutes
  8. Transfer half of this mixture to the food processor with half the beans and half the stock, and process until smooth
  9. Return the mixture to the pot with the rest of the stock
  10. Submerge the chicken in the mixture
  11. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high, then reduce to medium and simmer until the chicken is done, 15-20 minutes
  12. Remove the chicken and take the meat off the bone, shredding the meat
  13. Return the shredded chicken to the pot along with the rest of the beans and heat through
  14. Serve with assorted garnishes

So, what did I do differently from the original recipe? First, I reduced the amount of chicken called for from 3 pounds to 2 pounds. I also reduced the amount of chiles from 3 jalapenos to 1, and from 3 anaheims and poblanos each to 2 each. (If you like your chili spicier, you may want to re-adjust these amounts.) Finally, I thought the chili was too liquidy with the 3 cups of chicken stock originally called for, so I reduced that to 2 cups. And I eliminated the cilantro, which is hard to get in the winter and I don’t really like anyway. We had 7 guests for dinner, and we still had 2-3 portions’ worth of leftovers with this recipe.

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5 thoughts on “White Chicken Chili

  1. Marty 26 December 2006 at 10:18 am

    This was great. It seems to me that some white cheddar or pepper jack would be a great garnish for it (along with the green onions).

  2. shannonoz 26 December 2006 at 10:20 am

    I like the idea of using a white cheese for a white chili. Definitely will try that next time!

  3. Marty 26 December 2006 at 12:03 pm

    I knew your sense of order would appreciate that.

  4. CookingChat 28 December 2006 at 6:30 am

    sounds great, I love chicken chili and this looks like a good version. will definitely add to my virtual cookbook.

  5. David 9 November 2008 at 8:12 am

    going to try something along these lines today. will post what I come up with. I’ve got some tomatillos I’m planning to throw into the mix.

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