It’s been one of those months. Lots to do, not enough hours in the day, yadda yadda. Several weeks ago on my way home from a long day of errands and meetings and plate spinning, I ran through all of the options in my fridge for a fast dinner. Short of setting a plate full of random fruits and vegetables on the table, I was coming up with zero. I’d had it, I was spent, I gave up.
I stopped at the local grocery store intending to grab something, anything that could hit the table in a hurry. I scanned the shelves and the frozen food section for something that would pass for real food, ready to go. If you’re a label reader or at all concerned about excessive packaging—as I am—you know the impossibility of this task.
I came home with canned white beans. Using canned beans instead of dry beans was my foray into “fast food.” We had a good laugh about that. We also had an excellent dinner. It hit the table a little bit later than I’d intended, but it was worth the wait. The family, they raved. (Note to self: Cook up a batch of dry beans and keep them in the freezer to make this again and again.)
6-Ingredient White Chicken Chili
Makes six hearty servings
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 mildly spicy peppers, sliced*
- 6 chicken thighs or legs, preferably organic
- 5-15 oz. cans great northern beans (OR 8 cups cooked small white beans plus 2 cups chicken broth)
- 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
In a stock pot, saute onions and peppers on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Add chicken parts and cover the pot. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, turning chicken occasionally. Remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks. Return shredded chicken to pot along with beans (undrained), salt, and pepper. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 minutes (or an hour, if you’ve got time or you’re trying to squeeze in chores).
*My peppers were from the garden, a plant given to me by a friend; I don’t know the variety. We call them Jeannie peppers. Because they’re pretty mild, I put seeds and all in the pot. Hotter peppers? Remove the seeds and use fewer or go for broke. Your call.
Hot tip: Double the amount of chicken, holding the extra out once it’s shredded. Voila! Chicken for lunches.