Alright, folks. This one has been in the making for quite some time. It’s my award winning white chicken chili recipe!
I’ve been making this recipe for YEARS. It’s one of the few dishes that I actually make the same way every time. And I gotta say, it’s equally as delicious every time (if I do say so myself, and I do). I’m not really quite sure why it has taken me so long to blog it. I guess because every time I make it, I can’t wait to bury my face in it and I don’t want to take the time to photograph it.
What finally tipped me over the edge is my very persistent friend, Emily, that has asked me no less than 50 times for my recipe and I keep promising that I will get it to her. But in true Kelli-fashion- have not as of yet gotten it to her.
So shout out to Emily- you know who you are! This one is for you.
When I say “award winning”, what I mean is, I entered it in my church’s chili cook-off, and wouldn’t you know? I won! Never mind the fact that the chili cook-off is an annual fund-raiser (the winner is determined by who has the most money in their pot ) and my husband and father may or may not have stuffed the ballot with a Ben Franklin or two. Hey. I’m not ashamed. I won a $20 gift card to Panera!
But this next big win is what makes this white chicken chili LEGIT.
My family and I recently moved across the state and were invited to a Halloween chili cook-off in our new neighborhood. So of course, I made my recipe and took it to my new friend’s home. I lined it up next to all the other delicious chilis, and stood by and watched like a hawk as people scooped my chili into their bowls, making sure they knew just how to properly adorn the chili with the provided accouterments.
It’s just not the same without the crispy pancetta on top!
After everyone had stuffed themselves full of various chilis, the vote was in. I won! VICTORY! In a jury of unbiased peers- a bunch of strangers even (now friends)! This second win made it official. My white chicken chili is a bonafide award winning recipe. And it’s one I’m quite proud of.
In case you’re wondering, I do realize that we’re headed into spring and chili is typically more of a fall-ish dish, but I submit that this recipe is so tasty, it’s perfect any time of year. Fall-schmall.
Eat it up!
- 1 tbsp ghee (or other stable cooking fat)
- 16 oz diced pancetta (certainly bacon will do if you can't find pancetta)
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can use breast if you like but I like the dark meat)- diced into ½ inch cubes
- 1 large white or yellow onion- diced
- 4 stalks celery- diced
- 1 green bell pepper- diced
- 4 cloves of garlic-minced
- 3 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 4 oz cans chopped green chilies (mild or hot, depending on your preference)
- 2 15 oz cans each garbanzo beans, pinto beans and great northern beans- with their juices
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lime- about a tablespoon
- Additional toppings:
- fresh cilantro- chopped
- organic sour cream
- fresh lime juice
- organic shredded cheese
- Heat your ghee in a large dutch oven over medium heat on the stove top.
- Add the diced pancetta (or bacon) to the pot and let it render until crisp. When it's crisp, remove it to a paper-towel lined plate and reserve it for later.
- Still over medium heat, add the diced chicken to the pot. Season with sea salt and pepper and let brown for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Season with S&P. Let the veggies saute until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant- about 3 minutes.
- Add the cumin and coriander to the pot and stir so that it coats all of the veggies and chicken. Let the spices toast with the chicken and veggies until fragrant- about 3 minutes.
- Add the canned beans, chopped chilies and bay leaves to the pot.
- Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the chili to a boil.
- Reduce it to a simmer, leave the lid cracked and let simmer for 30-45 minutes.
- Add the juice of 1 lime.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve topped with crispy pancetta, a squeeze of lime and cilantro. You can also add a dollop of sour cream and some cheese if you like!
P.S. I make lots of chilies! If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, try my Classic Chili!
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