Welcome to Rotisserie Redux, where we tackle that $5 chicken that you bought, again. You know, those ones all scooted up together under their heat lamps at the big box store and they’re not the greatest food in the world but they’re $5 and they’re already cooked and heyyyy who wants dinner? We can do better–let’s do it!
So is anyone else just really sick of cooking?
February was basically just illness after illness and like, rainrainrainrain and then some more rain.
And now, the sun! It’s out and shining bright! And then you go outside and it’s… not actually warm. Like when you wait all week for your avocado to be ready and then you cut it open and it’s mush and what the hell why can’t even the simple things in life go well. (Never mind um, everything else in this world right now.)
But for real I’m so over cold weather food. Long-cooked braises, squash-potato-cabbage, and oh hey look is that a sweet potato? Oh, just kidding it’s just more squash. Coaxing the flavor out of scraps and bones and remnants of pasta boxes and casseroles thrown together with all the bits and ends floating around the fridge. And while it is good and comforting and sometimes even necessary to create something out of seemingly nothing, I just want to eat a peach or slice up a tomato or throw some meat on the grill while I hang out with a glass of something chilled in hand and call it a day. I don’t want to have to *do* anything to my food.
Guys I’m just tired.
So I bought another rotisserie chicken.
But also I like to make life difficult for myself so instead of just eating the chicken here I am, turning it into this White Chicken Chili because it’s 55 degrees and that’s cold here and ok, I *maybe* ate the drumsticks, but everyone else still needs to eat dinner. And so, chicken soup, ramped up.
White Chicken Chili was not something I was ever familiar with growing up. Chili came in two variations. The ground beef-and-bean classic was my dad’s post-divorce dinner of choice for us kids–cheap, easy, and kind of hard to screw up too badly. Or, the Arizona kid that I am, it was chunks of tender braised beef in a deep chili gravy wrapped up in a tortilla served at every restaurant on every corner.
Here’s the fun thing about kids though, neither of mine eat either of those variations. (Kids are so fun you guys.) And so we turn to this White Chicken Chili. Quick enough to throw together during the week, or stir it together on a weekend for dinner on both Sunday and Tuesday night–it makes a lot. (Or freeze half of it for down the road.) It’s mild enough for me to pass it off to the kids as, “uh, it’s just chicken soup.” Because let’s be real, I don’t really see White Chicken Chili as a true chili, but when you have hearty but not heavy soup that’s easy to throw together plus a smidgen of spice and all the toppings? Who cares what we are calling it. Just pass the hot sauce, please.
Summer, I’m ready for you, but I’ll make do with a pot of this warmth on these early spring nights. The tiniest kick of heat as a reminder of warmer days to come is ok with me for now.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 rotisserie chicken
- 3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 (15 ounce) cans white beans
- 1 (4 ounce) can fire-roasted green chiles
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
- 1/2 cup fine/medium grind cornmeal
- 1 cup milk
- Soup toppings: grated cheese, hot sauce, chopped cilantro and green onions, sour cream, avocado, salsa, tortilla chips, etc.
- Heat the oil in a 5-qt pot over medium heat. Dice the onion, and add to the pot with the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts the soften, 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Dice or shred the two chicken breasts and thighs (it should be about four cups) and set aside. Mince the garlic. Add the garlic and spices to the pot and cook until fragrant, another 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse the canned beans.
- Add the beans, green chiles, chicken, corn, and chicken stock to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high, until the soup reaches a simmer. Slowly stir in the cornmeal, adding a little at a time and stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so the cornmeal doesn't scorch. Cook for about 30 minutes, or the cornmeal loses its grittiness. Stir in the milk and taste for seasoning. Serve with with the toppings of your choice.