Who doesn’t love a good party – or should I say fiesta? This morning, I opened my Facebook app and noticed I was tagged in an interesting timehop post from my mom. Seven years ago today, we won a Chili Cook-Off at our local Exposition Center. We placed first in the homemade division and second overall, competing against restaurant chefs.

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As the colder weather rolls back into town, I am reminded of my family’s chili recipe. As opposed to a traditional red chili, we make a white chicken chili. White chicken chili is an affordable, healthy, and delicious food that is simple to fix. I am an expert at making this dish because my family and I make it for every special occasion – movie premiers, sporting events, holidays, you name it! I’m going to share with you my family’s award winning “White Hot Chicken Chili” recipe, a sure-fire way to curb the rainy-day (or snowy) blues.

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Go to the grocery store and buy all your food ingredients. You will need: 3-4 chicken breasts, 1 stick of butter, 1 large white onion, ¼ cup flour, 1 can chicken broth, 1 pint half-half, 1 tsp Tabasco sauce, 1 ½ tsp chili powder, ¼ cup chopped jalapeños, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. white pepper, 4.5 oz. (2 cans) chopped green chilis, 4 cans navy beans (drained), shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips. Our secret is that we use chili powder that we purchase from farmers in New Mexico, so it’s high quality.  We also suggest using New Mexico’s famous Hatch’s green chilis, and if possible, Trappey’s navy beans are the best to use.

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Now, get in the kitchen and collect all your tools. You will need a large pot, a wooden spoon, a knife, measuring spoons, and a cutting board. Now you can get to cooking! Cook chicken breasts (preferably grill them, but they can be baked or microwaved) and set aside to cool. Chop onions and sauté them in butter. Lower heat to medium-low. When onion is soft, add flour. Next add half the chicken broth and allow thickening before adding the rest of the chicken broth. Make sure to stir. Repeat process with half-half. Next, add the Tabasco and spices, constantly stirring. Add green chilis and jalapenos, continuing to stir. Add navy beans. Finally, add the chicken. You may choose to pull the chicken in small strips or chop the chicken in small chunks. Warm, but do not boil the chili. Serve topped with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Eat with tortilla chips (instead of crackers as with traditional chili).

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That’s all it takes to successfully create your own delectable white chicken chili. Now, head to the store and whip up a batch because the cold weather is sure to not last long. Now that you know our recipe, it’s like you have officially been inducted into part of my family. Two years ago, we won another chili cook-off at my high school’s homecoming competition. Our white chicken chili was the best, then and now! Time sure does fly! Bon appétit!

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