White Chili

0 Comments 16 January 2013

Despite us having above average temps for January and more humidity than you can shake a wet towel at, I want soup. My mind is very much still in Winter mode though we’ve yet to actually have any winter in the Southern U.S. White chili is something I’ve had only when others made it, and it’s always been delicious. Typically it’s made with chicken breast meat, which is a very healthy and satisfying option, but this time we went even leaner in Ellie Krieger’s version, which uses the ultra lean ground turkey. White beans, lots of poblano peppers and a surprise ingredient helped make this a very satisfying meal.

White Chili (1 of 12)

If you’ve never had white chili before, the texture is very different from traditional beef chilis, which are usually thick, almost like a stew. White chili is definitely more in the soup spectrum of textures, with chicken stock as a base.

White Chili (3 of 12)

You start if off much like regular chicken soup, with lots of veggies to bring on the flavor. We doubled our recipe so I’d have some leftovers for hubby and my dinner another night during the week, so in went six big poblano peppers, and lots of onion and celery, too.

Ever cooked with poblano peppers? If not, you should know they are right sneaky little things. Sometimes they’re really mild in flavor and spiciness, other times they can be rip-roaring hot. This time, surprisingly, they weren’t very hot. The spiciness was actually really pleasant, just the right amount. You can always kick the heat up more if you prefer with additional cayenne pepper. And aside from any spiciness, poblanos just have a wonderful flavor. Love ’em.

White Chili (2 of 12)

And here’s the recipe’s surprise ingredient – hominy. This was my first time trying the small white kernels, which hubby said looked like popcorn. They’re much more firm in texture, though, but slightly softened if bought canned as these were. Surprisingly enough since it’s a corn product, hominy is a healthy ingredient – but you can almost go ahead and assume it is without researching it since Ellie Krieger is using it in her chili.

White Chili (4 of 12)

By this point, the chili has simmered only for about 25 minutes. It doesn’t need any more than that before adding the hominy and it needs little time after this point till done. This is a great weeknight option, especially if you have time to do some of the prep work ahead. All the veggie chopping is what takes the longest, but most of that can be done a day ahead, saving you time on a busy week night.

White Chili (16 of 4)

Have some nonfat Greek yogurt and chopped cilantro waiting to top it all off. Mmmm, this chili is ready. You’re ready!

White Chili (5 of 12)

The spices used in this – cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper, are big on flavor without using a lot of them. Definitely bump up the pepper if you’re a fan of very spicy chili. I love poblano peppers so was happy with their contribution to the taste and the hominy adds another texture level to the chili that was really nice for a change. Pair this with some corn bread or corn muffins or a grilled cheese sandwich and you’ll find you have a satisfied tummy very soon.

White Chili

by Ellie Krieger via Food Network

Prep Time: 20 minutes    Cook Time: 46 minutes    Level: Easy    Serves: 4-6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 medium poblano peppers (about 4 ounces each), seeded and white ribs removed, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste
  • 1 pound ground white meat turkey
  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans white beans such as cannelini, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges

Heat the oil in large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add the onion, celery, poblanos, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink about 2 minutes. Add the white beans, broth and oregano. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.

Add the hominy and salt and more cayenne pepper, to taste, and continue cooking, partially covered, 10 minutes longer. Ladle into individual bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cilantro. Garnish with a lime wedge.


You can use regular sour cream as a garnish if you prefer, as opposed to the Greek yogurt. I enjoyed the yogurt, though, and find that the Chobani brand nonfat version tastes a lot like sour cream anyway and is very thick.

Another good garnish if you want to kick it up a little is shredded mozzarella cheese. The lower fat variety works good and melts well into the soup.

Next time I’ll add some chopped cilantro to the soup at the same time as the hominy instead of waiting to garnish with it. Don’t like cilantro? Just leave it out entirely, no biggie.

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- who has written 347 posts on Full Fork Ahead.

Wife, mom, indulgent reader and Day Job Do-er, who occasionally likes to think she can cook. Sometimes she's right, sometimes she's wrong.

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