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Rear Window Chili

A hundred years ago, when my awesome neighbors moved in, I watched from my bedroom window, doing my best L.B. Jefferies impression as furniture and boxes were carted from truck to townhouse. I spied only one person other than the movers — a dude. I wondered if it was just him, or if that inventory was split with someone else. When the movers unloaded the pink chairs, I knew.

His wife has come to be one of my best friends, and she, being from Texas, has always held Opinions when it comes to chili. I never have, other than being able to take it or leave it. It was never a favorite, probably because those I knew were from school cafeterias, thick and dark, and I’d never taken the time to explore what else chili could be.

Last weekend, I did!

I’d been seeing those commercials for the white chili — I bet you know the one. But when I looked up the recipe, it contained chicken soup. And well, I guess I formed my first Opinion on chili right there because that struck me as Wrong. I searched the Internet and took what sounded good, and threw it into a pot. Here’s what I ended up with.

chili2

2 15 oz. cans of white beans in chili sauce
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes – I used fire roasted from Glen Muir because I love them so
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 small Anaheim pepper, diced (the recipes I read kept saying jalapenos, but I wanted something more mellow that wasn’t a green bell pepper, and this turned out perfect)

2 cloves garlic, cut however the heck you like

16 oz. stock, chicken or veggie – this measurement could easily differ – I used it because it’s what I had leftover/open, and I didn’t want to open a new carton, so depending on how soupy you want things, add more

1 split chicken breast, roasted and shredded – these come two in a pack here (or 5 or a billion), and I roasted both, having no idea how much I’d need, but one was ideal with the beans/tomatoes — also super easy to leave out if you want to turn this vegetarian, or to simply add last if you have one meat-eater and one veggie-eater in the house (Beth and Sean).

Spices – cumin, chili powder, coriander, salt, pepper. I think a couple bay leaves in this would have been wonderful.

I used my Dutch oven pan, heating up some olive oil to sauté the onion, Anaheim pepper, and garlic. I added 1 tsp each salt and pepper to this. As my oil was consumed, here’s where I added a smidgen of stock, letting the veggies cook for 5ish minutes. Added the beans, added the rest of the stock. Brought it up to a low boil, then added the tomatoes and all their liquid.

When I roasted the chicken, I did it the way I do a whole chicken — bones in, skin on. I seasoned with garlic powder and kosher salt. Beyond that, my chicken didn’t have anything special done to it. Shred it up, toss it into the happy pot.

I added my spices at this point; I think I did 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder (I wanted to keep it lighter than a regular chili), 1 tsp coriander, and then salt/pepper to taste.

I brought it back up to a boil, then reduced the heat while I made tortilla strips. I cut entirely too many tortillas, put them on a sheet pan, 375 10-15 minutes until crisp.

Would probably also be great with sour cream on it. What isn’t, really.

chili
My awesome neighbors are moving out now — they’re onto the next adventure, and won’t be too far away when all is said and done. I’ll miss them — won’t be the same Rear Windowing new people.

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