Monday, March 24, 2014

Jalapeno Popper White Bean Chili

Spring is such a tease.  I may not be very familiar with the concept of 'teasing' because I am not the most flirtatious person (unlike a certain, smiling spaghetti squash-sized baby flirting through the sonogram screen) but I can tell when I'm being teased with and spring is not being very subtle about it.  With just a couple 55+ degree days in the past month, and a high of 38 tomorrow (on March 25th), and the constant restoring/unstoring of my snow boots . . . I get it.  Spring is not to be trusted.  I only hope that in a month she will have proven me wrong and shown what a wonderful, magical season she can be before she hands the days off to the heat of summer.

Parallel these irritations with Duke's unfortunate early exit from the NCAA tournament on Friday (before 2:30 pm), and I am seeking comfort in some more hearty fare.  This chili is easy, full of fiber and protein, and incredibly filling.  I made this for a couple friends and their two-year-old son.  Everyone enjoyed it -- even the toddler.  He is a budding chef, I believe, because he took the chips and salsa I had put out as appetizers and dipped the chips in the chili.  Genius.  Future leftovers will be ladled profusely over a plate of tortilla chips, topped with crumbled bacon and sour cream -- then devoured in that manner.  

As with most slow cooker recipes, it makes a ton so hopefully, once you finish the leftovers, the temperatures outside will finally be a glimpse of the warmer months ahead.  

Jalapeno Popper White Bean Chili
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 yellow onion, medium, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 bell pepper, diced
1 pound chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
12 ounces dry white beans, picked through to remove any bad beans/stones and rinsed (I used white kidney beans -- very important to rinse these!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces light cream cheese, cubed
1 cup frozen corn kernels

In a slow cooker, add all ingredients except the cream cheese and corn.  Cook on low for 7 - 9 hours (I actually ended up cooking mine for about ten - eleven hours and it was fine).  Remove the chicken and shred into pieces.  Return chicken to the slow cooker and stir in the cubed cream cheese and the corn. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the cream cheese is melted and the corn is cooked through.  Stir to make sure everything is incorporated.  Serve with desired toppings like sour cream, cheese, crumbled bacon, salsa, tortilla chips, etc.  

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