White Bean and Chicken Chili

whitebeanchiliI woke up this morning to another light layer of snow and my weatherman telling me that winter is here to stay.  So rude! Sadly, it appears that this weather really refuses to chill (hehe…. all puns intended), and since these arctic temperatures call for it, I think tonight is a great night to make a giant pot of chili.

I know that generally when we think of chili we think of tomatoes, beef, heavy seasoning and a spicy kick, but perhaps its time to expand into the world of milder, smoother options.  I made this chili last weekend and after a couple of “isn’t chili supposed to be red?” questions, everyone devoured it and asked for second.

Just like with red chili, there are really dozens of way that you can make this. I like to use canelini beans, but any white bean or combination of white beans will work. Corn and pickled chilies add sweetness, crunch, acidity and a slight heat and cumin really gets the chance to shine as the seasoning star of this chili.  The secret to making the texture lush and velvety is the addition of the cream cheese. It may sound a bit unusual, but it really elevates the dish

This is a great option for people who don’t eat red meat but want something classic and comforting to keep them warm while they snuggle up to the latest episode of Scandal. (I’m so unbelievably excited that its coming back tomorrow night!)

White Bean and Chicken Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 4 cups of cooked chicken, diced or shredded without the skin*
  • 2 cans of white beans (14 oz)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 can of corn kernels (14 oz)
  • ¼ cup of pickled jalapeños**
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 6 oz of cream cheese
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, sauté the onions and bell peppers for 4-5 minutes until the onions are soft but haven't begun to brown. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 1 more minute.
  2. Add the oregano, cumin and paprika and cook for 30 more seconds.
  3. Add the chicken, beans, corn, pickled jalapeños and chicken stock. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook the chili for 20 minutes.
  5. In a medium sized bowl mix the cream cheese with ½ cup of the cooking liquid from the pot. Once the cheese is incorporated, pour it into the pot and stir. Cook for 5 more minutes
  6. Serve garnished with cilantro.
*You can use a whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or you can cook your own chicken. An easy way to do it yourself is to place pieces of a whole chicken in the bottom of a heavy pot, cover with water, bring to a gently boil at medium heat and cook for 20 minutes. The liquid from that can be used in place of chicken stock in this recipe.
**You'll find these at most grocery stores in the ethnic food aisle. They may be labeled "green chilies"



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