Everybody’s Favorite White Chili

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It’s been really cold in San Diego lately. Seriously. I mean, not cold by like Green Bay, Wisconsin standards, but really cold by San Diego standards. It was 39 degrees when I got up this morning! Perfect weather to make Everybody’s Favorite White Chili. This recipe is from the very first issue of Bon Appétit that I ever received (remember that gift subscription for my birthday from my friend Linda?)…March 1991. It was called Timothy’s White Chili because it was from a restaurant called Timothy’s in Louisville, KY (which apparently has since closed).

It has chicken instead of beef and white beans instead of the usual red kidney beans. I garnish it with jack cheese, sour cream and cilantro. It’s a little spicy, really hearty and delicious. I’ve simplified it over the years, using a store-bought roasted chicken and canned beans. It’s a family favorite. In fact, I submitted the recipe for the cookbook that was put together at our kids’ elementary school back in 1999. I renamed it Everybody’s Favorite White Chili for that cookbook and the name stuck. Because it is.

It would be great to serve at a Superbowl Party. Or on a cold San Diego evening.

Everybody’s Favorite White Chili

INGREDIENTS

3 16-ounce cans Great Northern white beans, drained

2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 4-ounce cans chopped mild green chilies

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 cups canned chicken broth

Approximately 3 cups shredded jack cheese

Cilantro

Sour Cream

Instructions

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, then chilies, cumin, oregano, cloves, and cayenne pepper and sauté 2 minutes.

Add beans and broth and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Add chicken and 1 cup cheese to chili and stir until cheese melts. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle chili into bowls. Serve with remaining cheese, sour cream, salsa and cilantro.

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Betty’s Chicken Pot Pie

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Chicken Pot Pie.  Seriously one of my favorite comfort foods. And it has to be this recipe, from the Betty Crocker A New Cookbook for a New You Cookbook.  Believe me.  I’ve experimented with others and always come back to Betty.  (I mean, come on, just look at that photo of the “new” Betty…she must know a thing or two about chicken pot pie!)  Of course, I’ve adapted it a little and simplified it a bit (by using a store-bought-ready-to-roll-out pie crust and already cooked chicken), but it’s still Betty’s and it’s still the best.

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I’ve had this cookbook for a really long time.  Maybe even a wedding present (that would be 1984)??  Whenever it was, it has been used a lot.  Apparently somebody left the book on a still hot burner of an electric stove once. Lol. And the front cover has fallen off.  The back cover is just about to fall off.  It’s really great for basics.  I make her Hollandaise, Beef Stroganoff, Chili (she calls ground beef “hamburger”), Macaroni and Cheese (with Velveeta…oy!) and Meat Loaf.  There are great charts (turkey roasting timetable) and tips (egg sizes).  There’s a section at the back all about newfangled “microwave cooking”.  Hilarious.  “This cool, convenient new way of cooking simplifies life.  It saves time.  It doesn’t heat the kitchen…There’s nothing magical about microwaves.  They are simply electromagnetic waves of energy, similar to radio and television waves.”  Anyway, you get my point…I’ve had this cookbook for a very long time!

Okay.  The recipe.  You’ll want to make this.  And then you’ll want to make it again and again.

Betty’s Chicken Pot Pie

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup butter (Betty says you can use margarine or chicken fat too)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1-3/4 cups chicken or turkey broth (one 14-oz. can)

2/3 cup milk

2 cups cut-up cooked chicken or turkey

1 10-ounce package frozen peas and carrots

Refrigerated all-ready pie crusts (come in packages of two)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat butter in saucepan over low heat until melted.  Blend in flour, onion, salt & pepper.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.  Stir in broth and milk.  Return to heat; heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir one minute.  Stir in chicken and frozen vegetables; set aside.

Fit one of the pie crusts into a 9-inch pie plate.  Trim any overhanging dough to fit edge of plate.  Pour chicken filling into pastry.  Place second pie crust over filling.  Roll edges under and crimp or flute top crust and bottom crust edges together to seal. Cut slits in center of top crust to allow steam to escape.  Cook uncovered until crust is brown, 30 to 35 minutes.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Chipotle Chicken Tostadas

The food truck scene in San Diego has taken off in the last few years. No, these are NOT the “roach coaches” of yesteryear. Food trucks offer handmade cuisine using local produce and unique flavors that are easily accessible, affordable and most importantly, delicious. And two of the very best food trucks park themselves two office buildings away from where I work two days a week. Green Truck and MIHO consistently rate in the “best of the best”. How stoked am I?

About a year ago, my friend Jessica met me for lunch at MIHO. We both ordered the Chipotle Chicken Tostada and it was awesomely delicious. I mean, we talked about it for weeks. So shortly after that, Jessica announces that she is pregnant (yay!) and a few months later, I’m hosting a baby shower for her. I’m thinking I’d sure love to surprise her and make those MIHO tostadas for the shower. So I walked over to the truck, introduced myself to Chef Sarah, explained what I wanted to do and she said, “sure, email me to remind me…just give me a few days”. And you know what? She actually emailed me back…with the recipe and the comment, “here is the recipe for the chicken tostada (it is kind of a rough on since I didn’t really work off a recipe when I made it)”.

I made them for the shower. Jessica was SO excited and SO appreciative and EVERYone loved them. Now, you’re thinking, “that’s not very cool of Cheryl to share MIHO’s recipe.” Well, a few months after the shower, I saw that they had actually publicized the recipe, for all to see, on their e-newsletter. So I think its cool. Besides, I’ve adapted it some. Just be prepared…you’ll want to start these the day before. The chicken takes 4 hours to cook…but so totally worth it!

MIHO Chipotle Chicken Tostada

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 lbs chicken thighs makes enough chicken for about 6-8 tostadas…I’ve actually cooked up to 3 lbs of chicken with the amount of ingredients below)

1 chopped yellow onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons paprika

1/4 cup cumin

1 tablespoon cayenne

salt

black pepper

2 28-oz canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 can chipotles in adobo sauce

Tostada shells

Refried black beans

Cotija cheese

Red cabbage

Avocado (if you’re feeling especially creative, try grilling your avo!)

Pickled red onion

Radish

Salsa

Sour cream or salsa crema

Cilantro

Lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

Make dry rub by combining paprika, cumin, cayenne and salt & pepper. Coat chicken thighs with rub.

Heat a few tablespoons vegetable oil in a large frying pan and sear thighs (just a few minutes on each side, to really get the rub adhered to the meat, you’ll probably need to do this in a couple of batches). Okay, to be honest, I’ve skipped the whole searing step and just smothered the chicken with the rub, let it sit in the fridge for a half hour or so, then added the chicken, raw chopped onion, garlic & chipotles to the roasing pan.

Place thighs in large Dutch oven or roasting pan.

Sauté onions and garlic in the same pan you used to sear the thighs. Add sautéed onions and garlic to chicken.

Pour tomatoes and chipotles over the chicken, onions and garlic (the liquid from this should almost cover the chicken).

Cover tightly with lid or foil and place in oven at 250° for about 4 hours. You want the cover to be tight so that the liquid doesn’t evaporate.

While still warm, remove chicken from sauce and shred it.

Don’t throw away the sauce! I always freeze it and then use it again for another batch of chicken! Leftover chicken freezes really well too.

To serve:

Top tostada shell with refried beans, crumbled Cotija cheese, shredded red cabbage, avocado slices, pickled red onion, thinly sliced radish, a dollop of salsa and a dollop of sour cream, a few springs of cilantro and then squeeze some fresh lime juice over.

You’re gonna thank me for this one. (Okay, really, you should thank Sarah and Kevin and Juan…and Jessica for having a baby!)