A creamy chicken chili prepared with cannellini beans and smoky cumin.
I am in love with this chili! It’s warm, comforting, flavorful and a nice change of pace from the usual tomato-based beef version. I do enjoy a hot bowl of beef chili any day of the week, but this recipe is right up there as one of my favorites. The cannellini beans (white kidney beans)are so creamy and tender and perfect for any of your favorite soups or stews. I often will use diced corn tortillas blended with broth as a thickener for various recipes, but adding the beans really adds an extra creaminess to this chili recipe. I opted to use chicken thighs for even more flavor, but you could certainly use all boneless chicken breast for a leaner version.
Preheat broiler to high for 5 minutes. Line a baking sheet with foil paper and spread out the tomatoes, jalapeños and onion, skin side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season lightly with salt. Cook under broiler for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Remove stems from roasted jalapeños and add to blender with tomatoes, onions and all the juice from roasting. Add lime juice and salt to taste. Pulse to blend. Transfer to serving bowl and mix in 1 full tablespoon chopped cilantro.
For the White Bean Chicken Chili
In a deep skillet, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and preheat to medium for 3 minutes. Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Sear and brown the chicken for 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, set aside. In that same skillet that you seared the chicken, add the onions, garlic, jalapeño, celery and bell pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, making sure you scrape the bits of chicken off the bottom.
To the blender, add 1 can of drained beans, corn tortillas and 1 cup chicken broth. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into skillet with vegetables. Stir well to combine, add remaining 3 cups of broth, cumin, oregano, chile powder, jalapeño powder and bay leaves. Dice the chicken and add back to skillet, along with remaining beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 25 to 30 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.
At this point for the chili, stir in the evaporated milk. Bring up to a simmer, but don’t let it boil. Cook for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings if needed. Serve and garnish chili with corn chips, shredded cheese, cilantro, green onions and roasted salsa.
My best tip for preparing any chili or stew is to prepare it 2 days ahead. The flavors will have a chance to combine and it will be outstanding!