Thursday, January 21, 2010

White bean and chicken chili

My crockpot is one of the kitchen appliances in heavy rotation. It gets almost as much use as my Kitchenaid. Granted, it got a lot more use when I lived in a colder climate--there's something so satisfying about a hot bowl of soup waiting for you as you come in from some nasty weather. Coming inside from 75 and sunny to a hot bowl of soup isn't quite the same. But the weather here has been especially gross this week--lots of wind, lots of rain, and so I deem it to be crockpot/soup weather.

The advantage to the crockpot, obviously, is that you can throw a bunch of crap in there before you go to work, turn it on, and have something yummy and hot waiting for you when you get home. Since I had a bunch of leftover chicken, I decided to go with a white bean and chicken chili. Admittedly, I cheated a bit and threw in a package of southwestern chili spices that I picked up in Santa Fe this summer. But you can do it without the package of spices. Just add a small chopped onion and a few chopped cloves of garlic, a couple handfuls of leftover chopped chicken, and three or so cans of white beans (or the equivalent). Add appropriate spices--cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, red chili flakes, etc. You can add chopped jalapenos if you like it spicy. Add chicken broth to the top of the pile of stuff, stir, and turn on low for 8 hours or high for four hours. Serve with shredded monterey jack and sour cream.

Cost: if you use dried beans (like I did; just be sure to soak them beforehand), this will cost you less than a couple of bucks for the whole crockpot full of soup, which will get you at least 6-8 full size servings. I used the chicken from a whole roasted chicken ($1.99/lb, not $6.99/lb for boneless skinless chicken breast or some such nonsense), and the broth from the carcass of the whole roasted chicken, so even with the cheese and the sour cream, it's still less than $2 for the batch. That's...what, maybe 25 cents per serving?

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