Winning the office chili contest is an annual objective for my husband. Eddie has a really great, very meaty chili recipe that he’s been perfecting over time. Last year Eddie’s chili took first place and time before he came in second. In both cases the contest was decided by one vote and in both cases the other contender was his colleague Dean. When Dean’s white chicken chili took first place, Eddie came home with his empty pot a bit dispirited by his second place status but couldn’t stop raving about the winning chili. I said “let’s invite Dean over for chili — his chili!
There are multiple layers of delicious flavor and spice in Dean’s chicken chili. The first layer is baked right into the chicken. Cumin, chile powder, a bit of cayenne and salt are spread over boneless chicken breasts and they go into a 350ºF oven for 30 minutes.
While they bake you can get the rest of the chili cooking – onions, garlic, beans, broth, chili peppers, spices. The cooked chicken is shredded and simmered for a bit with everything else.
Then, for the final (knock-your-socks-off) layer, shredded cheese and sour cream get stirred into the mix. And the result is truly spectacular! One of those savor-every-bite kind of dishes. Now, I have to admit that I tweaked Dean’s recipe the tiniest bit in this area of cheese and sour cream. I stayed with the quantity of cheese and sour cream that Dean prescribed but I only added half of each into the soup. I left the other half for adding as a garnish. My reasoning for doing this? Firstly, after I made this chili a few times and experimented a bit, I discovered that it’s still totally amazing with only half the cheese and sour cream. Secondly, I love adding exciting garnishes to the top of my chili, so better to reserve lots of cheese and sour cream for that.
I can also appreciate that many of you may want to follow Dean’s recipe to the T and so I’ve explained how you can do that, if you wish. Delirious food happiness will be yours no matter which version you choose.
Dean and Eddie have been work associates for many years, and over that time he and his wife Kathy have become our friends. But even as a friend, Dean was extremely generous to share his secret winning recipe with us and with the world (PTG’s followers). I am so appreciative! Also, how about a friend who you invite to dinner and he brings all the groceries and does all the cooking? Dean is the best! Thank you Dean!
I’ve made Dean’s chili three time since he was over here. It’s great for a crowd and just the thing for Sunday football. It’s also perfect if you’re looking for a delicious festive dish that you can you can make ahead. It will keep for several days in the fridge. Just remember to reheat it slowly and gently.
Exciting news flash – Eddie’s award-winning pork and beef chili recipe is now on the blog!
Here’s the recipe for Dean’s award winning white chicken chili. If you make it I hope you’ll come back and let us know how it turned out!
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 3 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chile powder,*divided
- 3 tablespoons cumin, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more, to taste
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- 3 cups chopped onion (2 medium)
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic or more if you love garlic (4-5 large cloves)
- 3 15-ounce cans white beans, drained
- 2 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles (hot or mild, depending on your preference)
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 4-6 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 6 cups shredded cheese, divided (half Monterey Jack, half cheddar)
- 2 cups sour cream, divided
- Chopped scallions
- Chopped cilantro leaves
- Your favorite hot sauce
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- • A note on chili powder: One of my secrets to great chili is to use two or three different chili powders for a great depth of flavor. For this chili I used New Mexican and Chipotle chile powders.
- Spice and Roast the Chicken: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread chicken out in a roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, ½ teaspoon salt and a pinch or two of cayenne. Roast for 30 minutes. Shred or cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
- Cook the Chili: In a large pot heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté onion and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes or so, until tender. Add beans, shredded chicken, chilies, oregano, 2 tablespoons chile powder, 2 tablespoons cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne (or more, to taste). Add 4 cups of chicken broth, reserving the rest for thinning the chili to your desired consistency. Stir to combine and simmer gently on low for 20 minutes. (to keep the chicken tender, do not let the pot boil)
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes or so before proceeding. With the pot still off the heat, stir 3 cups of cheese into the pot, 1 cup at a time. Then stir in 1 cup of sour cream. (Or for Dean's richer, creamier version, add all 6 cups of cheese to the pot and 2 cups of sour cream) Bring the pot back to a gentle simmer over low heat (to keep the dairy products from separating, don't boil). Simmer the chili for 15-20 minutes, adjusting with additional chicken broth, if you like. A method I like to use for great added texture is to use a potato-masher in the pot to mash half the chicken and beans. Then stir to combine with the rest.
- Serve chili in bowls with garnishes on top or on the side.