Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili

From Cook's Country | October/November 2009

Why this recipe works:

Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs added deeper flavor to our Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili than boneless breasts, especially when we browned them before they went into the cooker. We started with fresh jalapeños to give the chili the extra heat it so desperately needed. Adding pickled… read more

Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs added deeper flavor to our Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili than boneless breasts, especially when we browned them before they went into the cooker. We started with fresh jalapeños to give the chili the extra heat it so desperately needed. Adding pickled jalapeños at the last minute really brought the dish together.

Pureed hominy (dried corn kernels that have been soaked in lye or slaked lime to remove the hull and germ) added body and rich corn flavor to our Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili that tasters loved. To give the chili extra body, we pureed one can of beans with some broth.

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Serves 6 to 8

Four bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts will work in place of the thighs.

Ingredients

  • 3 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 ounce) can white hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds, see note), fat trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 4 jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped fine
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons drained jarred pickled jalapeños, minced

Instructions

  1. 1. Blend Base Puree 1 can beans, hominy, broth, and ¾ teaspoon salt in blender until completely smooth. Pour into slow cooker.

    2. Brown Chicken Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook thighs, skin-side down, until skin is well browned and fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard skin, then add thighs to slow cooker.

    3. Cook Aromatics Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet. Cook onions, chiles, and ½ teaspoon salt until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer half of onion mixture to slow cooker; reserve remaining mixture in refrigerator.

    4. Finish Chili Add remaining beans to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until chicken is tender, about 4 hours. Transfer chicken to bowl. When cool enough to handle, discard bones and shred chicken into bite-sized pieces. Stir cilantro, pickled jalapeños, shredded chicken, and reserved onion mixture into slow cooker and let warm. Serve.

Building Flavor

The slow cooker has a reputation for washing out flavors. Here's how we fight that.

1. Puree hominy (with beans and chicken broth) to give the broth heft, velvety texture, and subtle corn flavor.

2. Brown the chicken parts, then sauté onions, jalapeños, garlic, and spices in the rendered fat to add layers of flavor.

3. To brighten the flavors stir in minced pickled jalapeños and half the sautéed aromatics just before serving.

Secret Ingredient: Hominy

A can of pureed hominy (dried corn kernels soaked in lye or slaked lime to remove the hull and germ) added body and rich corn flavor that tasters loved.

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