White chili for a cold day

A chat on Twitter Sunday afternoon with a few friends (HeatherSara and Molly), about our longing for cooler days, led to confessions of love for fall cuisine – specifically stews, soups and chilies – the perfect cool weather meal.

I mentioned that one of my favorites was White Chili, and a request was made to provide my recipe. Like most of my other recipes, this one lends itself to a little self-expression, especially in regards to heat. While the ingredients call for two jalapeños, tossing in an extra won’t hurt. And, if you don’t want that much spice, you can substitute green chiles.

White Chicken Chili

Serving Size: 6


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf, broken in half
3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups Monterey jack cheese, grated
½ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
salt, to taste


Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion, garlic and peppers, and saute over medium heat. Stir in oregano, cumin and ginger. Add chicken broth, bay leaf, chicken and, beans. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occastionally. Over low heat, add cheese, one handful at a time, stirring until melted. Add pepper and salt. Remove pieces of bay leaf before serving.


1. After blending all the ingredients, and after removing the bay leaf, I take a potato masher to this chili. Not obliterating all the whole beans, but just enough to give it a little bit smoother, and creamier texture.

2. I also cheat with the chicken. I buy a prepared rotisserie chicken from my local deli and use it for this recipe. A typical size bird yields 3-4 cups of cooked chicken. A rotisserie chicken is also practically the same price as an uncooked fryer, and is much less expensive than a package of breast or thighs.

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I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

7 thoughts on “White chili for a cold day

  1. I have a white chili recipe that everyone asks for after I serve it. Mine calls for green chiles and the cheese is sprinkled over the top when serving. We eat it with tortilla chips on the side or crunched over the top. I may have to give yours a try for a change of pace.


  2. Oh, that sounds soooo good. I’m a lover of fall food too. My chili recipe came from Alice’s Restaurant. You know, Arlo Guthrie’s “You can get anything you want… from Alice’s Restaurant.” I wanted that chili. Alice’s is gone now, but I got the recipe from a magazine back in the day.


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