White Chicken Chili

Amanda and I go way back.

You’ve seen the photos here more than once. We met in fourth grade and our friendship is still going strong (as is our best hair competition). When do happen to be in the same state, it’s always memorable. And chances are, we’re going to cook something. The first recipe we attempted together (back in the late ‘90s) was some sort of chicken mushroom situation. The mess we made in the kitchen was epic, and aprons probably would have been wise. The plate wasn’t pretty- but the food tasted good.

Since then, we’ve actually learned to cook! Last spring, Amanda finally showed me how to make her family’s secret recipe for meat sauce (which she verbally described but I didn’t write down and now have completely forgotten). YUM.

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When I visited California for my high school reunion, I hopped in the kitchen to make my hosts dinner. Amanda’s hubby, Marco, loved this White Chicken Chili and has requested that I send his lovely wife the recipe more than once. It’s a flavorful, comfort-food soup with a decent amount of heat. I’m a big fan of one-pot wonders- it makes life easy! This chili could literally come together in 30-40 minutes- and I made it for John last night.


In California, I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken, which was delish and super easy. Amanda simply chopped up about two cups of meat for me and set it aside. Last night, I cut two chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks and cooked them in the soup pot in a swirl of olive oil. I seasoned the chicken with plenty of garlic salt and black pepper, and then removed it with a slotted spoon and set the chicken aside for a bit.

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While the chicken was cooking, I started in on the veggies. Most good soups start with a little chopped onion and pepper. Oh, and plenty of garlic! Into the same pot they veggies went, sautéing until they started to get a little tender.

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Next, two small cans of fire-roasted green chiles. I only used one can in California, and everyone agreed that MORE would be BETTER.

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Next came the spices: cumin, oregano, crushed red pepper, a little cayenne, and more garlic salt. Don’t be shy here! FLAVOR.

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I poured in about 2 cups of chicken stock, then added three cans of drained cannellini beans (you can use any white bean here!). The chicken rejoined the party, as did a handful of fresh cilantro.

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I stirred the chili and turned the heat down low, letting it simmer and get delicious. Perfect timing to check out yet another crazy wildfire sunset in the backyard!

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Right before serving, I turned off the heat and stirred a generous amount of Monterey jack cheese into the chili. More than you think you’d use. It melts into the chili beautifully and just helps thicken everything up. Oh, I tossed in a couple of cubes of THIS, too.

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Soup’s on! We ate the chili with a warm spinach tortilla last night. In Cali, we dipped tortilla chips into our bowls. The chili is hearty, but not heavy. It’s got a little heat to it, but the green chiles are relatively mild. It’s scrumptious.

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Dear Marco: You’re welcome!

White Chicken Chili (adapted from this recipe)

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • One white onion, chopped
  • One large or two small yellow peppers, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Two small cans fire-roasted green chiles
  • Tablespoon (or more) cumin
  • Two teaspoons dried oregano
  • Teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Teaspoon garlic salt
  • Two cups chicken stock
  • 3 cans of white beans, such as cannellini (drained)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic. Sauté until slightly tender. Stir in green chiles. Add the cumin, oregano, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and garlic salt. Cook for a few minutes, then add chicken stock, beans, cooked chicken, and cilantro. Stir, lower the heat, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in the cheese. Adjust seasonings as needed (I always add more cumin and more garlic salt!). Serve with tortilla chips or a warmed tortilla. YUM!

**Want more easy recipes? Check out the FOOD BLISS link for a list!**


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