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17 November 2013 @ 08:34 pm
Worth Every Minute of Effort White Chili  
This is not a quick recipe.

You start this recipe the day before, soaking the beans. Then you work on it some more the following afternoon, boiling the chicken. Then you put the actual chili together, and it has to boil for a ridiculous amount of time.

That said, it's not a difficult recipe. You put the beans on to soak and forget about them until you're ready for them. You put the chicken in to boil and forget about it until you're ready to make the rest of the stew. You spend maybe half an hour pulling the chicken off the bones and chopping onions, but then you have your chili all assembled and get to ignore it, for the most, while it cooks. I made this for the first time in November 2013, and in the whole process managed to: a) write 5k on my NaNo, b) rake all the leaves out of the garden (we'd been ignoring them for months), c) watch some anime, d) watch some of a movie (it was kind of boring), e) nap a lot, f) make a ginormous pot of okra and tomatoes ... you get the picture.

Yes, this could be made with tinned beans and cubed chicken breast, but it WON'T taste as nice, I can guarantee. It makes a ton of food, so you know it's completely worth the effort.

Give it a go. See if I'm wrong. (I'm not.)

Worth Every Minute of Effort White Chili

2 lb dry Great Northern beans, which you will want to soak overnight in ~6 cups water
1 5ish-lb whole chicken, which you will want to boil for ~1 hour in just enough water to cover it

2 tbsp olive oil (not going to lie, I never measure olive oil, but I think that's the right amount)
2 onions, rough-chopped
2 tbsp diced garlic (uhh, that's maybe 4 cloves? Can't go wrong with garlic)

6 cups chicken broth (I don't use the stuff from my boiled chicken because I have other, better uses for homemade chicken broth, but you can use your boiled chicken broth here, it's okay)
2 4-oz tins diced green chilis
4 5-oz tins stems 'n pieces mushrooms
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cayenne red pepper
2 tsp black pepper (not going to lie, I just ground pepper-corns over the pot 'til my wrist hurt)
2 tsp salt
3 cups water

- Soak your beans at least 20 hours. I think mine soaked for 24 hours. Put 'em in a pan and put in enough water to cover them, then more water so that you have maybe 1" above the beans. This was about 6 cups of water for me, maybe 8, I don't even remember.

- Rinse your chicken, then plop it into a stewpot and add enough water to just cover it.
- Put that on the stove and bring it to a boil.
- Once it's boiling, turn it down so that it's simmering enthusiastically, and let it simmer for one hour.

- Drain the broth off your chicken once it's cooked. SAVE YOUR BROTH. You have good broth there, don't waste it. Stuff freezes well.
- Bone the chicken, then shred the meat using two forks. Try not to eat all of the chicken right then and there.

This is the point at which you actually get to start making the chili. It's worth all of that prep-work, I swear!

- Heat oil in a big stewpot. I use the same stewpot I used to cook my chicken.
- Add in chopped onion and diced garlic, cooking until they're softened and the onion is caramelized some.
- Add chicken, tinned chilies, and tinned mushrooms, and stir everything around so that it's all mixed through.
- Add chicken broth.
- Add cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt.
- Add extra water. Now this is a tricky bit here - your beans are going to need more water, but they'll also release water. Be conservative on your water at the start - you can always add more later. I ended up using 4 cups' water total, in the end.

- Boil that entire mess for an hour and a half. No, I'm not joking.
- Serve with grated Monterrey jack cheese or cheddar cheese or plain yogurt or sour cream or crackers or bread or cornbread or really whatever you like.

It's really worth it. I promise!

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