Christmas Eve is one of my favorite nights of the year. It’s a night to bring family and friends around a table to enjoy good food, festive libations and fun games. This year, I stayed in town and invited myself over to the Cubaks. Nearly ten years ago, they welcomed me into their family and whenever I can’t make it to the Bay Area for a holiday, they are always at the top of my list. They’ve always made me feel welcome and treat me as one of their own. This year was no different. For dinner, Janet made a pot of Winter Chili like I had never had before. It should be known that I grew up with a distaste for beans, with the exception of two- Kidney Beans and Butter Beans. All of the others from pork and beans to re-fried beans, and especially my personal worst, black beans (no matter how hard I try, they taste like dirt) I tend to omit or steer clear. But Janet’s chili was so good, that I was the first to go back for seconds and talked myself out of thirds (on account of the divine dessert she had also prepared).
Then yesterday, I found myself craving another bowl of her chili, so I did what I do and I tried reconstructing it from my mind. The result was so delicious, that I have eaten almost the entire pot myself and I wanted to write it down so I could make it again in the future. The nice thing is, because the beans are already cooked, you can actually make this rather quickly if you are in a hurry, but the longer you can let it simmer (hour to an hour and a half OR for a few hours in a crock pot), the flavors just get better and better.
- 1 lb chicken, cut up into small chunks (I like to use boneless breasts, they just make life easier)
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 1 large 48 oz can of chicken broth
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 2 tbs Cajun Spices
- 2 tsp Cumin seed
- 1 14 oz can of Cream of Chicken and Mushroom soup
- 1 small can of chopped green chilies
- 1 15 ounce can of Great Northern White Beans
- 1 15 oz can Red Kidney Beans
- 1 15 oz can Butter Beans
- 4 Tbs of lemon juice
- 1 packet lowry’s Chili seasoning
Sour cream and shredded cheese for garnish (some people also enjoy chopped cilantro, but I’m personally not a fan).
In the bottom of the pot, I sauteed the onions, garlic and chicken with a little olive oil. Once they were fairly cooked, I began adding all of the other ingredients one at a time (draining the chilies a little and rinsing all of the beans). It was really that simple and I can not begin to describe how delicious it turned out. I also loved having the different textures of the different beans. Made it feel more like a bean medley! I personally chose to not make this one as spicy (I tend to add more kick in my Chili Con Carne). You can certainly add more heat, but I liked this one as a cozy comfort under a blanket and spicy just didn’t seem to fit in that scenario.
I served it in coffee mugs with some shredded cheese and a dollip of sour cream. That sour cream is so key, that I may add it in earlier on my next batch and see how it turns out. I’m going to go have another cup right now. If you try it, let me know. I’d love to know what you think!