So I don't know about anyone else in the Greensboro area, but the big snow storm was a bit underwhelming. All of the build up and anticipation, all the milk and bread buying, all of the news watching....and I can still see grass.
I do love it though when we have a snow event, even though it is usually fraught with unjustified chaos. It is fun and exciting and I gladly participate in the madness...to some extent anyway.
One of my favorite things to do when we are going to get "snowed in" is to make a big pot of this white bean chili. It is one of Jeff's favorite things for me to do also. I think he would rank this recipe in his top 5 all time favorite meals that I make. I will admit, it is really really good. It is warm, lightly spicy, and kind of creamy with the navy beans. This recipe has been adapted from a Paula Deen recipe, the way that I make it is quite different, but much of the fantastic flavor can be attributed to Paula's recipe.
So I use a combination of fresh jalapenos and canned green chili's in this recipe (Canned green chili's can be found in the Mexican section in the international isle of your local grocery store or Walmart). Both bring their own great flavor to the chili. Now, working with jalapenos can be tricky. The first time I ever made this my hands burned for a day or more after and I rubbed jalapeno heat into my eyes more than once - a terrible, terrible feeling-something that I am confident could be used as a torture technique for terrorists.
So, a trick to working with jalapenos. After you wash your jalapenos, cut the top off by the stem. Then cut your jalapeno in half length wise. Now, place one half of the jalapeno in your hand, seed side facing up, and use a teaspoon (or 1/2 teaspoon if working with smaller jalapenos), to scrape out the seeds and the membranes (the whiteish part) into the trash. The heat from the jalapeno mostly comes from the membranes and the seeds, so this way you minimize the contact with your hands. On another note, if you really like your chili really spicy, no need to make sure you scrape out the membranes and seeds entirely, leave a bit behind to bring the heat. BTW, the jalapenos I bought this weekend were humongous! I'm talking about 4-5 inches or more long. Check out these mamas, they are as big as the avocado!
You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by leaving out chicken and using vegetable stock, something I convince Jeff to let me do at least half the time. You know, nothing makes a recipe like this less expensive and easier to make then by leaving out the meat, and I personally enjoy it better that way, but like whether or not pajamas are appropriate attire for all occasions for our almost three-year old daughter, Jeff and I agree to disagree on that one.
So here is the version with meat:
- 3 Tablespoons of butter or 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 4 medium or 2 large jalapeno peppers with membranes and seeds removed, diced
- 2, 4 oz cans green chili's (fire roasted is great)
- 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1/2 inch-1 inch chunks
- 4, 14 oz cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups chicken stock (or a little less)
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- In a large pot, melt butter or warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, jalapenos, and canned chili's to pot and sautee, stirring occasionally, until onions and peppers are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add chunks of chicken and sautee until chicken is no longer pink on the outside, about 5 minutes more.
- Add rinsed and drained navy beans, chicken stock (you may want to hang onto the last cup and add gradually to desired soupy-ness), oregano, cumin, white pepper, and fresh cilantro. Stir to combine.
- Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.
If you would like to make this earlier and allow it to simmer in the crockpot, do steps 1 and 2 in a skillet, then dump the contents of the skillet along with the rest of the ingredients into a crockpot and simmer on low.