Easy, Mild and Full of Flavor
Chili is one of the quintessential Crock-Pot meals, but that doesn't mean you have to always serve the same kind. Conventional beef-based chili is unquestionably good, but this white chicken chili recipe is lighter and equally appealing. Twenty minutes or so is all the time you'll need to prep the ingredients, and after that the meal pretty much prepares itself in your slow cooker while you go about the rest of your day.
Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 6
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs, diced
- 1 cup diced onion (approximately 1 medium onion)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, homemade or commercial
- 2 cans (15-ounce) low-sodium cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained
- 2 cans (4-ounce) diced mild green chilies or sliced jalapenos, or one can of each
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
- avocado slices
- tomato wedges, or halved cherry tomatoes
- chopped cilantro
- lime wedges
- jalapeno rings
- In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil, then add half the diced chicken. Brown it on all sides, then move the pieces to your slow cooker with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Return the skillet to your stove, and add the onions, oregano and cumin. Reduce the heat to medium, and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onions are soft and the flavorings aromatic. Add the garlic, and stir for 1 minute longer. Scrape the onion mixture into your slow cooker.
- Return your skillet to the stove. Pour 1/2 cup of the chicken broth into the skillet. Stir it vigorously to get any browned-on bits from the skillet, then remove the skillet from the burner. Add 1 cup of the beans to the skillet and mash them into the broth, making a soupy paste.
- Add the contents of the skillet to your slow cooker, along with the canned chilies and the rest of your beans and broth. Taste the broth, adding salt and pepper as needed. Different brands of broth vary wildly in salt content, so you won't know how much to use without tasting.
- Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, depending on whether your slow cooker runs hot or cool. The chicken should be very tender. Taste again, adjusting the seasonings if necessary, then ladle into bowls and serve with your choice of toppings. Corn bread, warmed tortillas or even tortilla chips make good accompaniments.
Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.