I love love love White Chicken Chili! Well, I just love a good soup, to be honest, and chili is one of my favorite foods. After paying $20 for a bowl of white chicken chili at The Cheesecake Factory recently I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands; I spent $20 at the grocery store and ended up with enough soup to feed twelve people!
I started with The Cheesecake Factory’s White Chicken Chili recipe – available on their website – and added corn, cream, green chiles, and a few other things to make it my own. I think you’ll love it, and I hope you come back to tell me what you thought if you try it!
What You’ll Need for White Chicken Chili
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this White Chicken Chili recipe:
- Boneless skinless chicken breast, navy beans: Thighs will work too, if you like. If you don’t feel like preparing the chicken grab a rotisserie chicken from the deli section of the supermarket and shred it. You can use canned – rinsed and drained – navy beans. You can also opt to use great northern beans which are bigger.
- Poblanos, jalapeños, green chiles, hot sauce: Flavor and heat! Also, I know people debate over whether beans belong in chili, but the real thing that makes chili, chili? Chiles! So don’t omit these. Gut your jalapeno before dicing if you need to reduce the heat.
- Garlic, yellow onion: Our aromatics, for flavoring our White Chicken Chili. A white onion would be cool here.
- Chicken stock, heavy cream, whole milk, sour cream: Soup builders. You can use half-and-half instead of whole milk and heavy cream, which is actually what half-and-half is anyway. Sour cream is added, optionally, at the very end, to give the White Chicken Chili a wonderfully velvety finish.
- Salsa Verde, chipotle sauce: More flavor! Chili is a wonderfully complex yet simple dish. Both of these add to the flavor. I made my own salsa verde; you can use your favorite recipe or store-bought brand. I used adobo sauce from a can of chipotle in adobo for the ‘chipotle sauce’ portion.
- Butter, vegetable oil, all-purpose flour: Vegetable oil for sauteing the chicken and aromatics. Butter and all-purpose flour for thickening the White chicken chili. You can use all oil if you like.
- Ground cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, Kosher salt, cracked black pepper: We’ll season the chicken with these, and then season the soup itself with them too. I used ancho chile powder to be specific, but any red or dark red chili powder should do.
How to Make White Chicken Chili
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this White Chicken Chili recipe:
- Roast the Poblanos. Preheat your oven to 450°F. Arrange your poblano peppers on a baking sheet, and roast in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until charred in spots and the outer skin is beginning to peel and curl. Once this happens, pull them and set them aside until they’re cool enough to handle. When the chiles have cooled go ahead and peel them, removing the thin, sheer skin from the entire outside. After you’ve peeled them remove the stem, popping it out along with the cluster of seeds. Slice the poblanos open and scrape out any extra seeds, then dice the peppers into small pieces.
- Season and Sear the Chicken. Next, add the chicken to a mixing bowl along with the dried oregano, one teaspoon of chili powder, two teaspoons of cumin, and two teaspoons of kosher salt. Stir to distribute the seasonings evenly all over the chicken. Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat, and add the vegetable oil. Let the oil heat for 2 minutes, and then add the chicken to the pot. Spread it into a single layer and press the chicken down into the surface of the pan – we want it to sear. Allow it to cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes. After there’s a good sear go ahead to stir and toss while you continue to cook until the chicken is mostly cooked through, but not quite.
- Build the White Chicken Chili. Remove the chicken from the pot, allowing excess oil to drip back off first, then add the butter and remaining oil. Add the onions, sprinkle lightly with a pinch of salt, and cook until they’re softened – about 4 minutes – then stir in the diced poblano peppers. Allow them to cook together for 2 minutes, then stir in the jalapeno and garlic and cook for another two minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle the flour over the sauteed aromatics. Stir them together until you don’t see any large spots of dry flour. Keep stirring for 3 minutes or so, to allow the flour taste to cook off.
- Keep building. Next, begin adding the chicken stock one cup at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure there are no lumps of flour. Once you’ve stirred in all of the broth, stir in the whole milk and heavy cream and bring it to a simmer. Stir in the beans, corn, salsa verde, chipotle sauce, and hot sauce, along with the remaining salt, chili powder, and cumin. Allow the mixture to come back to a simmer, then stir the chicken back in. Give it a taste and add more salt as you see fit. Simmer the White Chicken Chili for 10 minutes then stir in the sour cream and black pepper. I suggest serving it with white rice and garnishing it with cilantro and tortilla strips. Dassit!