Monday, November 5, 2012

Chili Cookoff IV: Winning Chili: Mild White Chicken Chili

My family hosts a Chili Cookoff every year in late October/early November at our "compound" in Southern Pennsylvania. The cookoff combines 2 perfect things for the fall: chili and football. We have family, friends, coworkers, teammates, classmates and other randoms come from all over the map! Most people make the hour drive up from the Maryland area but we've had participants from West Virginia, Delaware and even Virginia make the trek up to the event. The "PA compound" consists of my parents' house in the middle with my great aunt and uncle's house on the left and my grandparents' house on the right. Between all of us we have about 4 acres and it's perfect for a backyard football game! My Uncle Kevin does the artwork for the field and this year he made shirts (he even used a permanent marker to make everyone's names and numbers on the back of them):

A little blurry, but here I am being presented by my mother as the winner of the IV Annual Chili Cookoff:

They played about 5 games with 9 on each team. Even my sister participated this year making her the only girl! Go sis! The new kitchen addition on my parents' house is where all the chili and various desserts and sides go. This year we had a record turn-out: 20 different chilis and about 50 people! Most chilis were spicy and tomato based but we also had a new addition this year: Cincinnati chili.  I always make a white mild chili because I do not like spicy foods. Because of this, I never expect to win but this year I won with an astonishing 19 votes! There was even another white chili there this year. Mine was gone before most people even arrived. so I got an honorary (and XL) "CHAMP" shirt.

This was a first time recipe but I don't think I'd do much different - I also don't know the exact spice measurements because I did all of them to taste. Again, this is a very mild recipe that doesn't call for tomatoes or firey hot sauce. You could add corn too and make it a chowder! So here it is:

Mild White Chicken Chili
1 can cannellini beans
2 pounds of chicken, cooked and cut in chunks or diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 can of chopped/minced mild green chiles
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 pint half-and-half
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Cumin, Ground
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Garnish (optional):
Sour cream
White shredded cheese
Fresh cilantro
Fresh green onion, chopped

1. Cook onions in skillet until browned and softened. Then in medium-large sized pot, heat stick of butter over low heat until melted. Then gradually add flour while whisking (it's important to constantly whisk while adding the flour or it will stick and potentially burn). I whisked the mixture for about 1 1/2 minutes.

2. Add the chicken broth and half and half SLOWLY to the pot, whisking just like you did with the flour. Bring the mixture to a boil and turn down heat and cook for about 3 minutes (or until thickened), stirring occasionally. Next add the onions, hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.

3. At this point I put the mixture into the crock pot along with the chicken. Then I drained the beans and added them and the green chiles to the mixtures. Since everything is already cooked there's no reason to "cook" in the crock pot unless you are planning to leave out (as I did for the cookoff).

Note: I cooked the chicken while I was cooking the onions so everything in my mixture was hot and ready to serve. You can heat the beans up as well if you want to eat right away.

Garnish and enjoy!