White Bean Chicken Chili

In our “empty nest” house there tends to always be left-over chicken.  I make roast chicken at least once a week (and sometimes I buy rotisserie chicken from the super market, gasp!)  It’s been an ongoing challenge to create tasty dishes from the leftovers.  I’ve made spicy noodles with chicken, chicken pot pie, chicken and rice, chicken-filled savory crepes, chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, and on and on.  Any chicken leftover recipe has to effectively disguise the fact that the chicken has already been cooked, cooled, and refrigerated.  So I was very pleased when this recipe appeared in my inbox.  It makes perfect sense for the now slightly cooler weather, and it uses that cooked, shredded chicken to very good effect.  Full of high fiber vegetables and ample spice, this is a warming and hearty version of chili which can be made in advance and heated up quickly on busy evenings.  It may just become a favorite in your house too.

White Bean Chicken Chili
(serves 6 to 8)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, cut into small dice
1 to 2 celery stalks, cut into small dice
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 (4-ounce) can fire-roasted chiles (diced if whole)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, plus more to taste
6 cups chicken stock
2 (16-ounce) cans white beans, such as Great Northern or Cannellini
2 cups fresh or frozen yellow corn (thawed if frozen)
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (or turkey)
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sour cream, grated cheddar, fresh limes, and cilantro, for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeno, and cook until very soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the green chiles, garlic, cumin, chile powder, and cayenne; saute for an additional minute or two.  Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add the white beans, corn, chicken, hot sauce and a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about an hour.  Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook the roux for 1 to 2 minutes.  Pour in the milk and continue whisking until a thick paste forms, about 2 to 3 more minutes.  Stir the paste into the chili until it is completely incorporated and there are no lumps.  Continue cooking the chili over low heat, stirring occasionally, for an additional 45 minutes.  Check for seasoning, adding additional salt, pepper, and cayenne if desired.  Serve with the suggested garnishes and additional hot sauce, as desired.  (This recipe reheats well; thin with a little more chicken broth if necessary).   
(from The Kitchn)

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