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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Special Request - White Chicken Chili Recipe

Last year my office hosted a Chili Cookoff contest and I made my White Chicken Chili recipe for it.  Today, one of my friends and former co-workers reached out to ask for a copy of the recipe.  Apparently they are having another chili cookoff and it reminded her of the dish I had made. 

My chicken chili recipe has a fun story to it.  When I moved to Arkansas, I joined the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas.  My sister had long been a member of Junior League and she knew that it would help me meet people in the area.  In my first year as a provisional member, the League hosted a chili cookoff and my sister signed us up to compete.  It was the fall of 2004 and top of mind to us was Martha Stewart serving her jail sentence.  You see, Martha Stewart had a special connection for us...
This is Martha Stewart Caldwell! She was my sister's first baby and one of the best dogs ever!

We got to thinking around that theme and decided that Martha would never show up at a chili cookoff with a boring red chili.  We decided to make a White Chili and be different.  Now, neither of us had ever made white chili before nor had we read the judging criteria for the contest.  I began to taste test recipes and eventually combined elements from several to create what I thought was a pretty good chili recipe. 

The cookoff day arrived and it was a perfect fall day.  My brother in law served as my sous chef and helped me with preparing the giant pot of chili.  We used a turkey fryer system to cook the chili and it worked out well except it was hard to get even heating and I was worried that the onions and chicken were burning.  Our station was impeccable with a nice table cloth, silver serving pieces, flowers beautifully displayed in a real pumpkin vase, and as the perfect finishing touch homemade truffles.  Below you can see a little of our table theme...and why yes we are wearing jail stripe aprons and Free Martha buttons!

Kristen, Our Mom, and Me!
The ladies of the League all loved the chili and raved about it.  We dutifully prepared tasting cups for the judges with the perfect garnishment of avocado and a splash of lime juice.  When the results were announced my sister and I were both so disappointed that we didn't win and didn't even place.  Kristen of course investigated this and discovered that one of the judging criteria was on the "redness" of the chili.  Well, that was a major FAIL! Oops! 

Fast forward a few years and the league was putting together our very first cookbook.  Junior League's all around the country are known for having great cookbooks!  I submitted several recipes including this one...and it made the book! So I officially have a published recipe!
Add Another Place Setting: Recipes from the Jr. League of NW Arkansas
If you would like to purchase a copy of our cookbook, please visit Junior League of NWA You can also get more information via Facebook
I looked but couldn't find the original recipe cards that we gave out...they included the logo for the Federal Prison System as well as the appropriately titled recipe...White Collar Chicken Chili.  The recipe went on to become just plain White Chili when it was published in the cookbook but it's fun to relive the origins with you all.  Without further ado...

White Chili
1/4 C butter
2 large white onions, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/3 C all-purpose flour
4 C chicken broth
3 C half-and-half
3 cans (15 oz.) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 cans (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
4 C chopped cooked chicken breasts
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP hot red pepper sauce
1 1/2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 C sour cream
Avocado slices and Lime wedges for garnish

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and jalapeno and saute until tender.  Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently.  Whisk in the chicken broth and half and half gradually.  Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently.  Stir in the beans, green chiles, chicken, salt, white pepper, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce.  Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the cheese and sour cream.  Cook until the cheese is melted stirring constantly.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with an avocado slice and the juice of one lime wedge.

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