WHITE CHILI SAGA
(If you get bored reading this I understand. Scroll down to the bottom and I have listed the ingredients.)
A couple of weeks ago I posted my white chili recipe that I was going to enter in our annual Chili cookoff here at Red Mountain Ranch. You have to make enough for 2 crockpots, so I did it. I had friends and family come over and taste it to get constructive criticism. Almost unanimously they had the same comments: Tastes great, but more like corn chowder than chili. Also too thin. Oboy. Back to the drawing board. So Here’s what I did:
- First, I gave 3 quarts of ‘corn chowder’ to my neighbor who has 6 kids.
- I set aside about 4 cups of just the liquid.
- I pureed the chicken/broth mixture to make a thick juice (in the picture above)
- Next, I went to the big Ranch Hispanic Market and bought everything I could find that would keep the chili light colored, so I didn’t do tomatoes or red chili powder. However, I did find many spices and ingredients that would work: white onions, garlic, yellow “banana” peppers, tomatillos and a wonderful big boneless pork roast. Previously I had used chicken, which was still part of the dish, but beautiful chunks of pork couldn’t hurt, could it?
- I followed with 3 separate steps: First, I cut the pork roast into bite sized chunks (about the size of dice). I dumped the meat into my pressure cooker along with seasonings, a bottle of Mexican beer, and a little of the juice I had set aside from the original chowder, setting the cooker for 20 minutes. (I later added 10 more minutes just to tenderize the meat)
- In a separate skillet, in oil, I put one large chopped onion, 4 yellow peppers, 2 finely chopped jalapeños, at least 5 whole green chilies, chopped, more menudo seasoning, garlic and “Sazon”, (see below), and cooked them till soft and cooked through.
- Next, I boiled the tomatillos with some water, chopped onion, garlic and a few spices (named below) and a little chicken soup stock (about one Tbs.). Boiled until the tomatillos were soft and some of the liquid was reduced.
- Once the tomatillo mix was done and the meat was tender, I crossed my fingers, dumped those into the huge chili pot, and added the pureed ‘chowder’, (the old original chili), the meat, the tomatillos, and the onion/pepper sautéed mix. I cooked it all together for about 1/2 hour, and then added the beans, corn, cream of chicken soup, crema, and sour cream, completing the tasks with many taste tests with all my spices (including a little sugar).
To be honest, I didn’t think I had a shot this year. Although we and everyone who tasted it loved it, there are lots of wonderful chilies at that contest! But I did win “Best All Around Chili” and Fifty bucks! Here’s the best I can do for ingredients and method. So many things can be adjusted, particularly the heat of the chilis. So you are going to have to do your own thing on that:
1 lb. chicken, chopped not ground
2 lbs. boneless pork, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
4 or 5 chopped tomatillos (take the husk off)
1/2 cup chopped green chilies. (hotter peppers if desired)
Season the above with chili powder, garlic, Mexican spices (menudo seasoning is a great flavor addition, and is not salty), Sazon, cumin and salt and pepper. Even just a little sugar! This is where your heat tolerance comes in. Sauté until lightly browned
Put the above into a large pot and add:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can white beans
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
Simmer all for about an hour. Everything in this dish can be adjusted. For instance, I added double the green chilies, and jalapeños, and lots more Crema. If you cannot get menudo seasoning, it is Mexican oregano, garlic, onion and chili.