15-Minute White Bean Chicken Chili
Image ©2011 Christopher Halloran Photography
I was in Virginia earlier this year to lend a hand after my father’s heart surgery. I wanted to prepare a simple but nourishing meal for his first night home from the hospital, so my mom suggested I make his favorite white bean chili with chicken.
I glanced over the recipe she handed me — noting the extensive use of cans — and said somewhat skeptically, “hmmm, this looks … easy. Who gave it to you?”
My mom looked at me oddly. “You did.”
So despite my wariness and complete lack of recall, I followed “my” chili recipe. It was surprisingly good. And it occurred to me that at some point along the way, I’d become a recipe snob. I’d abandoned many easy, low-cost, delicious meals simply because they didn’t include exotic ingredients, or require sufficient chopping, or called for (gasp!) something from a can.
Luckily, my quest for simplifying my life has released me from such snobbery. Sure, I’ll always prefer fresh, local ingredients to canned, so if there’s time, I might still prepare dried beans the night before; or add a chopped, sautéed onion and some fresh garlic with the salsa; or substitute shredded, grilled chicken for the canned (or leave the chicken out altogether for my vegetarian son).
But when there’s not time, it’s still perfectly good – and perfectly simple – just as written.
The recipe is easily doubled, and freezes quite well too. It also makes a really nice white bean soup – just omit the cheese and add a bit more broth.
Recipe: 15-Minute White Bean Chicken Chili
1 (12-oz) can chicken breast, drained
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained and well-rinsed
1 cup prepared salsa (I use a medium salsa to give it a bit more kick)
2 (12 oz) cans chicken or vegetable broth (I substitute Herb-Ox bouillon and water)
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
½ – 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mexican blend are all good)
Garnish: Fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro or scallions, sour cream, salsa
Place chicken, beans, salsa, broth and seasonings in pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in cheese and add garnish(es), if desired.
Serve with a green salad and tortilla chips (we love the organic white corn chips from Costco). For a heartier meal, this is also good served over cooked white or brown rice.
Linked up to Tasty Tuesday over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.