Chili Blanco Especial

My mom has been making this soup, from the fantastic Creme de Colorado cookbook, for ages. I have the recipe hand-written on a recipe card from her when I went to seminary, and at the time I was a little shocked to discover how expensive white pepper was/is. It was worth it in this soup, though, and now I’ve discovered that our local Natural Grocers sells white pepper for a fraction of the price of other stores.

This white chili used to be my “standard” white chili until I discovered this “Creamy White Chili” recipe, which, nearly three years after I first posted the recipe, people still tell me they love. It’s amazing how basically the same ingredients can make such a different soup. My cousin has another “white chili” recipe that I need to get from her, because it’s yet another great variation on the same theme. But let’s get back to the task at hand: Chili Blanco Especial.

Chili Blanco Especial, from Creme de Colorado
serves 8

1 lb dry Great Northern Beans
7 c chicken stock/broth, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large white onion, chopped
1 T white pepper
1 t salt
1 T dried oregano
1 T ground cumin
1/2 t cloves (optional, but I love what it does for the flavor)
1 7-oz can diced green chiles
5 c diced, cooked chicken breast
1 T diced jalapeno pepper, optional, or 1/8 t cayenne pepper

Directions

Soak the beans in water 24 hours or overnight; drain.

In a crock pot or large pot, combine the beans, 5 1/2 c chicken broth, garlic, onion, white pepper, salt, cumin, oregano and cloves. Simmer, covered, at least 5 hours, until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in green chiles, chicken, the last 1 1/2 c broth. If you want more heat, add jalapeno or cayenne pepper to taste (1/8 t will give it ample heat).

Serving suggestion from Creme de Colorado is to line bowls with flour tortillas, ladle in the soup, and then top with monterrey jack cheese, sour cream and olives. I skip the tortillas and serve it with tortilla chips, sour cream and cheese.