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Spicy White Chicken Chili

The lawn was covered in a frost this morning. I’m so not ready for winter. By all means, bring on Christmas. But could we please skip winter??

I’d never even heard of White Chicken Chili until about a year or two ago, when a friend brought it to a potluck. How had I never encountered this brilliant, glorious dish?? Spicy, meaty chili without a speck of tomato. Inspired genius. In seek of something spicy, warm, and satisfying on a chilly November day, I decided to mix up my own version of a White Chicken Chili.

My biggest complaint with the other white chili recipes I’ve encountered, is that without the thickness of crushed tomatoes, the chili seems more like a chili-seasoned chicken soup. I wanted a heartier result. I contemplated using a flour roux or cornstarch to add a little thickness, but feared it would result in the consistency of a gravy, which didn’t seem appealing at all. But, then I had another idea. I decided to puree one of the cans of beans, which turned out to be the perfect way to add a bit of body to the chili. When added to the broth, the pureed beans provide a rich flavor and a naturally, creamy texture. White chili perfection.

The resulting chili is rich and spicy. There are several different peppers at work in this dish; fresh red bell, poblano, and jalapeño, along with dried cayenne and chile powder. They each add their own personal element of flavor to the chili. The red bell pepper is sweet, the poblano mild, and the jalapeño spicy. To turn the heat up or down, adjust the level of cayenne. I used 1/2 teaspoon for a noticeably spicy, but not overwhelming result. This dish pairs perfectly with my Cheddar Garlic Biscuits. Click here for the biscuit recipe.

Spicy White Chicken Chili


  • 1-1 1/2 pounds Chicken Breast, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Poblano Pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 Jalapeño Pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 cans Cannellini Beans, mostly drained
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream


Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the diced peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chopped chicken to the pan and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken is mostly cooked through. Add the chili powder, cayenne, and salt. Stir to coat. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, puree one can of the beans with a bit of the liquid from the can. Add the pureed beans and the other can of beans to the pan. Continue simmering for about 10-15 more minutes. Turn down the heat and stir in the sour cream. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and cayenne pepper, as desired.

Some Chili with that Cornbread??

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Wow! What a whirlwind blogging day this became! I was so thrilled to find myself on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed today. It’s exciting to know that there are people out there who are enjoying what I’ve been posting. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful feedback! I’ve been smiling all day. I’d also like to thank Netflix Instant Streaming for entertaining the kiddies while I’ve played in the blogosphere and chatted about cornbread all day.

In light of my day trip to the big time, my sister thanked me for changing the world with my blog. (I sense a touch of sarcasm in her comment.) But, you’re welcome, sis. It’s been my lifelong ambition to change the world, one pan of cornbread at a time.

The cornbread recipe was actually just Part 1 of 2. The main course tonight is the chili. But I have to be honest about the chili. The only reason I’m making chili tonight is because I want to use the leftovers for another recipe I’m working on. Poor neglected chili, upstaged by the cornbread and brought into this world with the intention of being leftover.

Regardless of its inception, it’s good chili; worthy of praise in its own right. I have a secret ingredient. I’ve swooned over skirt steak before for its wonderful flavor and texture in quesadillas and sandwiches. And I’m going to swoon over it again today for the intense beefy flavor and delicious chewy tidbits it adds to my chili; ever so pleasing to eat. If you can’t get your hands on skirt steak, flank or hanger steak would make suitable substitutions.

Besides the skirt steak, this is a pretty basic, spicy beef chili recipe. As with most of the things I cook, the ingredient list is limited and focuses on the flavors that matter. We like our food pretty spicy over here, but you can adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes. (If you like it super spicy, throw a pureed chipotle in the mix.) If you’re cooking for kids, set a bit of milder chili aside before you season for yourself. Serve this chili with a side of my Sweet Honey Cornbread or over a bowl of macaroni.

The Gourmand Mom’s Spicy Beef Chili


  • 1/2 pound Skirt Steak
  • Salt and Pepper, for seasoning steak
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cups Onion, diced (about 1 Large Onion)
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt (plus more, if desired)
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (plus more, if desired)
  • 2 cups Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 can Kidney Beans, slightly drained


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the skirt steak on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the middle rack of the oven and cook for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the steak into small pieces. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly transparent. Add the garlic and jalapeno. Cook for a few minutes more. Add the ground beef and cook until completely brown, using a spoon to break it up as it cooks. Once the ground beef is fully cooked, add the bits of skirt steak and any juices that have leaked from the steak. Add the chili powder, cayenne and salt and stir to combine. Cook for a minute or two. Add the crushed tomatoes and the kidney beans. Stir to combine. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, until all ingredients are heated through and the flavors have mingled. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and cayenne, as desired.

Serve with cornbread, rice, or macaroni. Top with cheese, scallions, or sour cream if desired.

Leftovers freeze and reheat well. Keep a lookout for an upcoming recipe which will feature the leftover chili.

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