Halloween came and went, and that means White Chicken Chili on the menu! We eat lots of traditional red beef chili in the beginning of October, and from the freezer throughout the winter, so Halloween needs its own special recipe. Our tradition is to enjoy “ghost chili” in the garage while we make and hand out cotton candy to all the trick-or-treaters. Good times!
White Chicken Chili
This basic white chili recipe isn't too hard to make, and is very mild so don't be afraid to pour on the hot sauce if you need it!
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chicken and onions and saute until chicken is no longer pink. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds more. Add spices and saute until fragrant.
Stir in chicken broth and green chiles with their juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
Cube Neufchatel cheese and stir into hot soup until nearly melted. (It will look separated at first, but will eventually melt into creamy goodness.) Stir in corn and 1 can of cannellini beans.
Pour the remaining can of beans into a food processor or blender. Add about 1/4-1/2 cup broth from the soup and blend until coarsely pureed. (You could also put all the beans into the soup and use an immersion blender to get similar results).
Pour the bean puree back into the soup and mix well. Simmer about 15 minutes longer.
Stir in fresh lime juice just before serving. Set out the toppings and let everyone mix up their custom creations.
This is the classic All-American Beef Chili recipe from my favorite cookbook, unfortunately no longer in print. (America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook). It is an October Staff Lunch staple, and there is nearly always a bag in the freezer in case Than gets a sudden chili-for-dinner craving.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Cook until veggies have softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional minute or so.
Add beef to veggies and spices. Increase heat to medium high. Cook, breaking up the beef with a spoon, until no longer pink (around 10 minutes).
Stir in the beans (drained and rinsed), the diced tomatoes (undrained), and the tomato sauce. Add additional salt and chili powder to taste.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until beef is tender, about another 45 minutes. Season again with salt, chili powder, and pepper before serving.
Chili can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for 3 months. Reheat over low heat, adding additional water or tomatoes as needed to adjust the consistency.