Who needs a quick, easy, healthy, and cheap dinner that everyone will eat, is totally customizable, and is gluten and dairy free? EVERYONE, that’s who. And we ESPECIALLY need it this week.
Our family just flew back from 6 days in Key West, FL and boy are my arms, legs, eyes, lungs, feet, teeth, hair, elbows, knees, and brains tired. See what I did there?
Can we talk about traveling with kids? I love it and hate it. On the one hand, it’s really nice to get out of the regular grind and say “yes” to things like daily ice cream and night swimming. That’s how memories are made, people!
But some of parenting’s stressors are portable. And some of those stressors are actually worse when saying “yes” comes with a side of fatigue and crashing blood sugar.
This particular vacation was amazing fun sandwiched between two slices of crazy-travel bread thanks to oversleeping for our 6:30 am flight on the way there, and then changing our flights twice and driving four hours at 10 pm to beat an ice and snow storm on our way home.
We also paid an arm and a leg for a 3-hour nap in an airport hotel that was the grossest place I’ve ever stayed. It was less like a hotel room and more like a bunch of pink-eye germs and bed bugs holding hands. Shudder. M commented, “It smells like a lot of people were sweating in here.”
But I fully acknowledge that we’re so lucky to be able to travel and are so grateful to the TSA and FAA employees who are currently working really hard without pay. We tried to make meaningful eye contact while saying “Thank you” over and over in securlty.
That said, I’m exhausted.
So, let’s get to this easy, all-purpose chili.
It is deceptively complex considering how quickly it comes together. You can certainly let it simmer for an hour to deepen the flavor if you like, but sauteing the spices and using a rich homemade stock if possible, will achieve the same depth of flavor in less time.
And if you put out every possible topping, I’ve found that this dish makes just about everyone happy.
White bean chicken chili
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2-3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
2 lbs ground chicken breast
1½ cups chicken stock (more, if you like a saucier chili)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
8 oz chopped roasted green chilis (2 small cans)
15 oz can white beans
Toppings: Cheese, scallions, avocado, sour cream, and pickled jalapenos
Heat oil over a medium flame in a large pot. Add the onion and sauté until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté again until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the spices and salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 more minute.
Add the chicken and sauté until no pink remains.
Add the stock and tomatoes and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
If the sauce isn’t thickening to your liking after 20 minutes, combine 1 Tbsp flour and 1-2 Tbsp of water and stir vigorously to combine. (I usually use a lidded jar and shake the water and flour together.) Add to the sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Add the chilis and the white beans and bring back to a boil to head through.
Garnish with cheese, scallions, avocado, sour cream, yogurt, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, etc. Whatever your chili loving heart desires.
Yield: 7-8 cups (about 5 grown-up servings)