White Bean Chili

This is one of my go to recipes for something lighter than chili but more substantial than chicken noodle!  This dish has two different types of peppers in it: Jalapeño and Poblano.  Jalapeño is medium sized chili pepper (about 2-3" in length), with medium heat - I say medium, but I like everything spicy.  They're commonly sliced and used in nachos, and can be eaten hot or cold.  If they are smoked, they're called Chipotles.  They can be stuffed, or stuffed and breaded and fried (jalapeño poppers).  I use them a lot for seasoning (chilies, soups, cornbread).   The Poblano is a much more mild pepper.  It's about 4-6" in length, and has thick outer walls (that's why it's a good idea to roast, steam, then peel them).  Poblanos are commonly stuffed (with cheese or chicken), dipped in whipped egg and then fried, or they can be used in mole sauces. When they are dried, they're called Ancho Chilies.     
2 poblano peppers
1 pound dried navy beans
1 Rotisserie chicken (or 4 chicken breast halves, cleaned, roasted in the oven)
1 large Vidalia onion, medium dice
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large jalapeño pepper, small dice
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1.  Place beans in a 5 qt dutch over and cover by two inches with water.  Cover, bring to a boil and immediately turn down the heat to low / medium-low.  Cook for about 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook for 30 mins more.  Beans are tricky:  If they are older, they take longer to cook.  Taste them for your desired bean definition - just make sure you don't add the salt till the last 30mins because that will make them tough.  

2.  While your beans are cooking, roast poblano peppers over the heat on your stovetop (if you don't have gas, roast them in the oven under the broiler) till charred.  I put mine right on the grate over the flame.  

Immediately put them in a paper bag (or ziploc bag), seal and let 'em sit for about 15m.

3.   Scrape off the charred outside of the roasted peppers.  This part can get messy.  Try, at all costs, NOT to rinse them under running water - It also rinses off lots of yummy flavor.  It's OK if you don't get all the charred bits off - That's just MORE FLAVOR!    
Split them open and, using the blade of a knife, scrape out the seeds and membranes.  It's easier to just cut the stem off before you split them, or you can just cut around it.  Once you have cleaned it and removed the step, you can open it on the cutting board to slice and dice.  Dice these into 1/4" pcs.  
Next, chop your onion, mince your garlic and dice (really small) your jalapeño.

4. If you have purchased a rotisserie chicken (the best bet), pull the chicken off the bone and save the carcass and skin and use it to make stock later.  

5.  Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven, add the onions and roasted poblanos; saute over medium heat for about 7-10  minutes (till the onions are translucent).
 Next, add the garlic and jalapeño, stir till fragrant (about 30 seconds; not much more - burned garlic has a funky taste), then add your spices and stir until everything is well-coated.  

7.  Next add the cooked beans, chicken stock and chicken.  Heat through, stirring occasionally.

Now, you're ready to plate it and ENJOY!

SERVING SUGGESTION:  I like this with a little Monterrey Jack cheese shredded on top and a few leaves of cilantro.  It's awesome served with jalapeño cornbread (recipe to come) on a crisp fall afternoon while you're watching your favorite team play!  Beverage of choice:  Cold Beer!     

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