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Monday, September 21, 2009

Look Out Superbowl Sunday!: White Chicken Chili

It’s been a little over a month since my first post and I feel like that's a small milestone - YAY! It has been alot of fun so far and, although I have been cooking for awhile, I have definitely learned a couple how to section a grapefruit like a pro, how to make a killer coconut cake and how to make an amazing meatloaf. In the process of learning all these wonderful facts and techniques another very important point has come to light, one that may seem like a total no brainer: be sure to read through the entire recipe before you start it. Seemingly obvious I know, but I have been so used to making my own favorite, everyday recipes it’s been a little challenging getting used to making something new (almost) every day! So this crucial step, I have found, helps tremendously in avoiding any unwanted surprises. It will also help you select the appropriate cookware, utensils and ingredients to pick up at the store so you are not scrambling around at the last minute like a crazy person – which, coincidentally, has NEVER happened to me. For instance, tonight’s meal, the White Chicken Chili, was originally planned for last week. I bought all the ingredients, got them home and, to my dismay, the first step was: soak beans for 8 hours or longer. Well, it was 5pm and I’m no math expert but - it just wasn’t going to happen. Needless to say Plan B went into effect (hello, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza). So, again, I highly recommend giving that recipe a good read through before finalizing your dinner plans.
Now back to the White Chicken Chili. My second attempt at this recipe involved me soaking those beans for 10 hours. This time I was soo prepared! I put them in the water before I went to work and was looking forward to a great dinner when I got home. But, despite my best efforts and advance planning, those beans still weren’t soft (more like al dente!) But please don’t let this deter you from this recipe because it’s really a good one. The Chili itself was delicious and the addition of the beer (I used Corona) really gave it such a nice flavor. It had a little bit of heat from the chopped green chilies and cayenne pepper; if you like it spicier you could certainly add more. And, to circumvent the “bean” dilemma, the “Note” at the bottom of the recipe states you can substitute 2 cans of white beans for the dried ones. Definitely next time!

The Dish:
White Chicken Chili (pg. 120)

The Drink:
Corona with lime (or whatever beer you add to the Chili)

I served the Chili with sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges which really enhanced its flavor. I also loved the color contrast! The shredded Monterey Jack cheese added at the end also gave the Chili a nice creaminess without being too heavy. And, as an added bonus, the next morning this dish can be transformed into a delicious “white” variation of Huevos Rancheros: just top the chili with two fried eggs, cilantro and sour cream – dee-licious! I have to give Steve credit for that one. This will also be a great dish to have around once the weather starts to get a little "chillier" but really, why wait until then! Although, I must say, come Super Bowl Sunday, the White Chicken Chili will definitely be in attendance. Enjoy!

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