As I’ve mentioned one of Paul’s favorite foods is chili, especially with corn bread. Usually we put the corn bread in the bowl first and then pour chili over the top; I promise it really is good that way. He would eat chili once a week if I made it and I could come up with plenty of good recipes and variations to try so that I would not be bored. The only problem is that Emily absolutely hates chili, not just dislikes but really hates it. So I sat down with her one day and asked her what it is she doesn’t like about it and she said the tomatoes and the seasoning… well those are pretty important parts in basic chili. Then it came to me, white bean chicken chili, it has a different flavor and no tomatoes. Even if you love the flavors of traditional chili this is a nice change from the usual.
I combined a bunch of recipes, as this is my process, to create a recipe that they both actually liked. The cornbread dumplings were also a nice spin on the usual, I decided on this route for two reasons. First I wouldn’t have to heat up the oven just to make corn bread and I thought the less this seemed like regular chili the higher my chances that Emily would like it. It is however important that you have enough liquid to cook the dumplings without the chili burning to the bottom in the process but not so much that its soup like. The amount of liquid in this recipe is what I needed to achieve that balance but you may need more or need to cook it a little longer so that it reduces. This chili was thick, hearty and healthy plus everyone really liked it.
In a large pan, preferably a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. I processed the onion and canned chilies before adding them to the pan; this really helps to disguise these ingredients if you have picky eaters. If you prefer the texture then just chop the onion and add the canned diced chilies as is. Once the onions are translucent add the minced garlic and the chicken, heat through. Add the spices, stirring to coat the mixture in the pan, and let the spices cook for a moment and become fragrant. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
10 cups is a lot of stock, if you don’t have that on hand or you would prefer not to spend $5 on just the chicken broth then I suggest you cook the chicken in 10- 12 cups of water with whatever else you have to flavor the water then remove the chicken once cooked and shred, save and use the water as the liquid in the chili. This will add 30 t0 45 minutes to the overall cook time but it’s up to you if you would rather spend more time or money.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the beans, corn and sour cream. Meanwhile mix the dumpling ingredients together in a medium bowl, if they seem dry add milk until the dumplings are loose. Evenly distribute the dumpling mixture by the spoonful across the top of the chili, cover and cook on medium heat for 15- 18 minutes or until the dumplings have puffed up slightly and are cooked. Do not remove the lid to check until 15 minutes have elapsed, it’s very important that the dumplings cook undisturbed and covered. Spoon into bowls and add additional sour cream and fresh cilantro if desired. Serves 6.
Much Love, Aislinn and Emily