“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” ~ Thomas Keller
In the mood for something soothing, with a little spice, but not regular chili . . . I chose to go with White Chicken Chili for dinner this evening. I hadn’t made it in years, but it was just as smooth and comforting on a bleh, dreary day as I remembered.
The flavors of red onion, garlic, and green chiles combined with the spices and cream cheese make this soup appealing to even my picky eaters. One of my sons is an anti-souper and hates beans but ate a bowl of this while suffering from COVID even. What he didn’t eat, he promptly refrigerated to eat later. I call that a huge win in my book.
White Chicken Chili
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. butter
1# chicken breasts
2.5 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade but boxed will do
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. crushed pepper
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. oregano
juice of 1-1.5 limes
3 T. fresh cilantro chopped
1 can green chiles, diced
2 cans great northern beans, drained
1 8 oz. block of Neufachtel cheese, softened
1 -1 .5 cups frozen, roasted corn
In a small skillet, melt butter. Add diced red onion and minced garlic, sauteing until tender. While cooking, place chicken breasts, spices, broth, green chiles, lime juice and cilantro in crockpot. Stir in cooked red onion and garlic. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Take 1 c. of the drained beans and place in a food processor with 1/4 c of the juice from the crockpot. Pulse until thickened and pasty – this will be used to thicken the soup. Cut the Neufachtel cheese into cubes. Remove the chicken breasts. Stir in the beans, cheese, roasted corn and bean paste. Turn crockpot onto high for 30 minutes. Shred the chicken and return to the crockpot, stirring to help melt the cheese. When cheese is melted, turn to warm setting. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheddar cheese, avacado slices, tortilla strips, guacamole or more cilantro.
On the home front, things are getting back to an even keel. Having signed up for PRN shifts at the hospital before accepting a full-time position, I’ve been working overtime hours through the end of December. Now that the holidays are over, hopefully we’ll get into more of a set routine and I’ll be able to catch my breath.
Mentally and physically, I was able to cope well with the job change. Emotionally, it was a different story. Anytime your profession changes unexpectedly through no fault of your own, there is some emotional fall out. I’m simply ready to move on, move forward and get on with this new career path.
This whole scenario was echoed in a project on which I was working this weekend. Something that should have taken less than an hour — ended up taking two days. In the middle of hanging a curtain rod, my impact driver died. The battery quite simply ran out of juice. The curtains had to be set aside, the table remained pushed away from the wall and the battery recharged overnight. Sometimes life is just like that project. While we hope to finish things in a neat tidy package in one fell swoop, things happen and we have to leave life a little messy, things slightly undone until we have the energy to finish.