It's Sunday dinner time again, can you believe it? Usually I like to share a more involved recipe for Sunday since, in theory, we have more time to cook on the weekends. But maybe you don't want to spend your weekend cooking. Perhaps you want to spend your weekend weekending. Ain't nothing wrong with that. So...
Raise your hand if you like dump-and-go slow-cooker meals.
Now keep it up if you like chili.
My family actually has two chili recipes on rotation: Brian’s Winter Chili, my husband’s take on the beef and kidney bean classic, and the Slow-Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili recipe I’m sharing with you today.
As you probably already know (or might have guessed), I am sort of obsessed with trying new recipes. There’s so many yummy looking options out there and I want to taste them all. I’m always in search of a new favorite. The good news about this tendency is I have made some mad-tasty meals and desserts over the years. The bad news about this tendency is how easy it is to make something yummy and never make it again. So the fact that I’ve made this white bean chicken chili recipe so many times is, I think, a testament to how good it is.
First, it’s one of those meals I know will not be met by groans when my kids ask, “What are we having for dinner tonight?” I know everyone will eat it and finish it all. Second, it’s great as leftovers. Not only have I got dinner one night, I’ve also got a few days of lunches, too. Third, it’s easy to make, especially because I don’t have to spend time chopping or slicing or pre-browning or otherwise cooking before I put it in my slow-cooker. In fact, the only real “work” of it comes in the last hour before you eat it. If you make it on a weekday, you could arrive home from work, open the crock pot, shred the chicken, take 10 minutes to make the cream sauce and pour it in and stir, then run up and change into pajamas and slippers and pour a glass of wine and/or help your kids with their homework and then—boom!—it’s dinner time. That’s tres convenient, if you ask me.
It might also be tres convenient to make, say, on Halloween. You can dump and go in the morning and it cooks while you juggle work and/or attending school Halloween parades all afternoon, and it's a warm, filling meal that'll stick in little bellies while they're out begging for candy. It's almost as easy as picking up a pizza on the way home, but so much heartier. It's why I always try to schedule something of this general type for the big night.
I first found this recipe several years ago on the Lovely Little Kitchen
blog. I mostly go by her original recipe, but I made a couple tweaks to ingredients and process, and what I list below is how I make it. Let’s get cooking!
Slow-Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili
In the crockpot- for Stage 1
1 ½ pounds (2-3 breasts) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, uncooked
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
14.5 oz can chicken broth
4.5 oz can chopped green chilis
11 oz can corn (I get the vacuum-packed corn to avoid the step of draining it; alternately, you could get a 15oz can of corn in water and drain it)
2 15.5 oz cans white beans, drained (I use 1 can Cannellini & 1 can Navy Beans)
For the cream sauce- for Stage 2
1 bouillon cube, crushed (or equivalent amount of crystals OR 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon, per original recipe, though I’ve never used that product so I don’t know how it works in there)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon white pepper (I find the taste sort of strong, so I usually go on the lighter side)
½ teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
½ cup sour cream (I always use Daisy Light)
1. Place raw chicken breasts on the bottom of a large crockpot and then top with remaining Stage 1 ingredients (spices, broth, chilis, corn, beans).
|All the raw ingredients in the pot ready to cook|
2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. (Note: I have sometimes started my recipe later than intended. In order to catch up on some lost time, I have successfully cooked on High for 1-1.5 hours, then turned it back to low for 4-5 more hours.)
3. About an hour before the end time, shred your chicken breasts with 2 forks. You can either do it right in the crock pot (though be careful if your crockpot has non-stick coating because metal forks will scratch it) or remove to a cutting board to shred, then replace in pot once shredded.
|Chicken shredding in process. It's very tender so it shreds with ease.|
|Shredding the second breast. (Remember to BE CAREFUL if your|
slow cooker has a non-stick coating. The forks can scratch it. Or so I've heard...)
|All shredded and awaiting cream sauce.|
4. Make your cream sauce.
|Half of the cream sauce players.|
Randomly not pictured: sour cream, butter, and flour.
In small saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The flour will bubble and start to brown.
|Butter and flour. Still in raw-ish form.|
|Starting to bubble and brown. Time to add milk!|
Once the flour is at this stage, add the milk a little at a time (aim for 1/4 cup increments), whisking well after each addition. Don’t add the next portion of milk until the mixture in the pan is smooth. Note: As you can see from the photos, it starts out pretty thick and when you add the milk, it might even seem lumpy at first. Keep whisking and adding in stages. Once it’s all incorporated, it’ll get increasingly smooth and creamy-looking (it’s normal if there seems to be a stickiness to it, too.)
|This is what it looks like after only a little milk is added. |
|This is what it looks like with more milk. The lumps are normal,|
but you want to keep whisking to get those smoothed out.
About halfway through the addition of the milk, add your crumbled bouillon cube and whisk.
Once all the milk and bouillon is added, allow the sauce to simmer 2-4 minutes, whisking frequently as it thickens.
Whisk in seasoned salt and pepper, and turn off the heat.
|This is the texture you're looking for. Smooth, creamy, and thick.|
Finally, whisk in the sour cream until incorporated and smooth once more. (The original recipe doesn’t add the sour cream now. It saves it until after you add the seasoned cream sauce to the crock pot. I followed that direction the first few times I made the recipe, but it ended up not fully incorporating into my chili, instead leaving small unappetizing globs of sour cream. Then I tried whisking some of the crock pot broth into my sour cream to smooth it out and that worked to combat the lumps, but still felt like a perhaps-needless extra step. That’s when I started adding it to the cream mixture and that has been the most convenient with the best results.
|Add the sour cream|
|Whisk well and this is the end stage of the sauce.|
5. Add the cream mixture to the crock pot (be sure to use a spatula to get it all out of the pan and into the crockpot) and stir to combine.
|Add the cream mixture to the pot|
|Stir to combine. Voila! It's now a cream-based soup! MAGIC!|
6. Replace crock pot lid and continue cooking 30-60 minutes more.
7. Ladle into bowls and top with your preferred toppings. Suggestions? Avocado slices, shredded cheddar cheese (though we didn't do it in this photo), Fritos. (The Fritos are another reason my girls like this. I
only buy Fritos to serve with this meal, so they feel like a special treat.
I think you'll find this is a solid dinner option for any night of the week (or any candy-based holiday). After you try it once, there’s a good chance it’ll make its way into your family’s Favorites rotation, too.
Oh, sorry, you can put your hand down now.
**I have no affiliation or relationship with any of the brands mentioned or linked in this post. All opinions and experiences expressed herein are my own.**