A Tasty Twist
White chili is healthy, filling, flavorful and quick – perfect for a fall evening at home.
I didn’t grow up eating white chili. In fact, I had never had it until my spouse and I went to our friends’ house for dinner a few years ago. It was a cool November evening, and the chili was warming, loaded with flavor and super filling.
Our hosts, Dana and Anthony, are from Islip, New York, and had just completed a kitchen upfit with many home upgrades. I was eager to see all their new décor and renovations, so when they invited us to dinner I jumped at the change. Actually, if anyone serves food, frankly, I will come. They had just gotten a big dining table that fit their new designs and had us over to show it off.
When we entered the home, we could immediately smell the herbs and chicken permeating the air as the chili simmered on the stove. Dana offered us a cocktail as she guided us around the house, describing all their updates and hard work. I walked over to the stove and took the top off the pot to look inside. “We are having white chili,” she said as I stirred the pot with a perplexed look on my face.
Once we all sat down to eat, I was dissecting the chili with my spoon to see what all was in it and what makes it so creamy, savory and delicious. Dana gave me the rundown of ingredients and mentioned cannellini beans, which I had never cooked with. Both Dana and Anthony are Italian and informed me that is a staple in their cuisine. I have since made various efforts to re-create that dish.
One cool autumn evening I was craving something hearty and healthy, and this chicken chili immediately came to mind. The white beans make it heartier than your average chicken noodle soup, and the green chilis and jalapeno add the perfect amount of heat. If you consider that the whole thing comes together in less than an hour, it is a perfect weeknight dinner with friends or family.
I like to build up the textures by adding shredded cheese, chopped onion, fresh cilantro, crisp peppers and a lime wheel before serving. Unlike Dana and Anthony, I also serve mine with a side of rice. However you decide to garnish this chili or whatever side you decide to serve it with, I assure you that it will become a regular at your dinner table during the cooler months.