Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken and White Bean Chili

Few things soothe a ruffled soul like a bowl of warm soup.

Few things help to heal a whirling mind like making a pot of soup.

Sign me up for both the making and the eating.

I apologize in advance: usually an advantage of soup-making is having to clean only one pot.  I typically snub soups that require multiple pots.  This one does require two.  (Chicken is sauteed in a separate skillet.) But I think it's worth it...

Speaking of pots:  can I show you one of my favorite Christmas presents?

My man knows what I like. 

My other favorite Christmas present?

The table I grew up around.  Mom got a new table and gave this one to us (along with the old church pew I also grew up with and four chairs that survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake:  they have to be refinished first). 

I did my homework at this table (and cried big, hot tears of frustration while trying to understand algebra).  We ate all our meals together, did art projects, decorated Christmas cookies, and built Lego cities on this pretty table.  My Daddy sat at this table. 

Now my family will grow up around it.

Cool, huh?
Y'all are my favorite because you lovingly endure my bunny trails. 

Now, back to the soup.

The simple ingredients pictured below can be swapped and exchanged for what's in your pantry.  Make it work for you.  The basic bones of the soup include chicken, chicken stock (or broth), tomatoes, and white beans.  Add "heat" in the form of green chilies and cayenne pepper.

I suggest serving it with a nice spinach salad and some garlic-cheese biscuits (recipe forthcoming).  Cornbread would be yummy as well.

Chicken and White Bean Chili
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 15-ounce can stewed tomato quarters and juice (canned diced tomatoes work, too)
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies, drained (optional)
2 cans Cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans)
5 cups of chicken stock (or broth)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumim
1 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
salt, to taste
one handful fresh parsley, chopped (reserve a few whole leaves for garnish)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (for garnish)

In a stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until it's soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.  (Try not to let the onion brown...turn down the heat if you have to.)  Toss in the minced garlic and cook for another 4 minutes or so.  Add the red bell pepper and cook for about 5-10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and cover. 

In a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Saute diced chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes.  (Check a piece for "doneness"--no pink meat should be hiding in the middle.)  Add in the tomatoes and juice and the green chilies (if using).  Bring to a feisty simmer.  Add in the beans.  Return to a simmer.

Add chicken stock to the stockpot.  Pour in the chicken/tomato/bean mixture.  Add cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and ground cloves to the pot.  Taste it.  Add salt if needed. 

Simmer over low heat for about 30-45 minutes.  Add the chopped parsley 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time.  Garnish each bowl with shredded cheese and a few whole parsley leaves.

Chicken, Red Pepper, and White Bean Chili on FoodistaChicken, Red Pepper, and White Bean Chili


Caneel said...

Yummy!! And what a beautiful pot! I remember that table -- what a special gift! We also got a new table at Christmas. We've been using my great-grandparents' table but even with the extension it only comfortably seats six and very tightly seats eight. We got a way bigger one, but now we're trying to figure out where to store the other family table until my mom can get it back. :)