Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bob Talbert's White Chili Recipe from The Detroit Free Press

Back in January of 1992, Kev gave me a portion of a page torn from the Detroit Free Press that had Bob Talbert's column on it. It was before the Super Bowl game (01/26/1992, the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills, 37-24), and it had a recipe for White Chili that the Talbert family would make for Super Bowl Sunday. Back then, putting chicken in chili was something Very New. Now you can find white chili on menus of all sorts of chain restaurants. Whenever I make this chili, it's always a hit. I'll give you Bob's recipe as it appeared in his column, and then I'll tell you how I tweak it. (Thanks to Traverse City Record-Eagle for the text of Bob's recipe.)

Bob Talbert's White Chili
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 14-oz. cans chicken broth
3 16-oz. cans white beans, with liquid
2 c. finely chopped white onions
2 T. fresh minced garlic
1 T. olive oil
4-oz. can chopped green chilis with liquid
2 heaping t. cumin
2 level t. oregano
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
Dash red hot or Tabasco sauce
Poach or bake the breasts at 350ΓΈ for 30 minutes. Chop into bite-size cubes.
In a large soup or chili pot. pour the chicken broth and add the 3 cans of white beans with liquid. Keep the heat low.
In separate pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Stir in the green chilis with liquid. Add that mixture to the pot with the beans and broth; add chicken. Stir in cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and hot sauce. Heat until it starts to bubble, about 10 minutes. Serve with cornbread.

Here's what I do, pretty much using all the ingredients above:

Put about 2, 3 or 4 nice, fat skinless boneless chicken breasts (you decide how much chicken you want) in baking dish (light spray oil first), generously sprinkle Mrs. Dash original blend (yellow cap) and extra spicy blend (bright red cap) on chicken, cover and bake at about 350 deg. for an hour or so. Remove from oven, take lid off and let cool a bit. Stab yourself one of the pieces of chicken out of the lovely juices in the pan, put it on a cutting board and chop away. You'll want the bite-sized pieces. Put the pieces back into the pan and swirl them around in the juices. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven (this, not this) or soup pan, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent and the smell is absolutely heavenly. Add the chopped chicken and its juice. Pour in a large box of chicken broth, 48 oz. or equivalent to about 6 cups. I like to include The Good Stuff if I have some, you can use whatever you want. How much broth you add also depends on how much you got from baking the chicken, and how thick or thin you want your chili. Remember, you can always add more broth, so maybe start with just some of it...

Add the beans, I like to use Great Northern and other white beans, whatever you have on hand, and include the juice. I like a variety of beans not only coz it tastes good, but also it's aesthetically pleasing to me. I may use 4 cans of beans if I'm in the mood; I'm a fan of beans. Add the can of green chilis - and make sure you get the peeled and chopped kind. And again, I may add 2 cans, not just 1. Toss in the oregano, ground cumin and cayenne to your taste. (I never measure spices when I cook... do you?) I usually pass on the Tabasco sauce. Not by choice, but coz I usually just forget it for some reason.

Stir and let cook on medium-low heat until well heated through, longer for more flavor blend. I don't make this chili in a crock pot, but I will often put it into a crock pot to keep it warm while serving, especially at potlucks.

We then have available a variety of temperatures of salsas for garnish (Kev likes the really hot stuff), as well as sour cream and shredded cheese. Your choice on the cheese, a Mexican blend is nice. Eh, whatever's on sale will work.

Corn bread is nice with it, too. I usually just whip up a box or 2 of Jiffy corn muffin mix into which I add sugar and maybe a little extra milk, so it's more like Johnnycake. (Where I come from, Johnnycake is sweetened corn bread - Johnnycake is usually more moist, where corn bread can be kinda dry.) We usually have tortilla chips with our white chili.

Like all chilis, the more you heat it up, the better it gets. On this chili, make sure your significant other also eats this chili with you, otherwise he or she probably won't be able to stand your breath in bed. Seriously.

As I write this blog post, the sun is shining and there are 5 male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at our bird feeder and in the dwarf magnolia next to it, along with a couple of the pretty brown and white females.

We've had lot of birds this year, including a Baltimore (Northern) Oriole, and he's really pretty...

and so is the more-yellow-than-orange female.