Every year, when I was a kid, my parents hosted a soup party. They found dozens and dozens of soup cups at a restaurant supply store and my mom would make a traditional chicken noodle, hearty Vegetable Soup and a cream based soup, all served with sourdough rolls and a green salad. Three big pots of soups with long ladles would simmer on the stove top and friends would serve themselves, lingering in the kitchen, or moving out to the patio or around the fire pit. So I have a love of soup that nearly rivals my husband’s. He was given soup every day for five years at boarding school in Germany and to this day, would prefer to eat it seven days a week.
Now that the weather is starting to crisp up, I love hearty chilis. This is a wonderful white chili recipe from Giada DiLaurentis, with my own gluten-free twist. When I serve traditional chili, I like to offer a non-beef version as well for those preferring something lighter. There’s a lot of surprising flavors in here, but they work in great harmony together. I decided on this recipe for one reason only – the addition of fennel – one of my favorite spices and it richly flavors the chili. The creaminess of the beans combine beautifully with the swiss chard and even my kids lap this up. A note about the ground chicken. Simply choose a pound each of boneless, skinless thighs and breasts and have your butcher grind it fresh for you.
I love to serve this with a green salad and a glass of cold Pinot Grigio. This is one of those “eat in front of a fire” meals, or better yet, throw on a sweater and have it outside while enjoying the long shadows and the coolness of a new season.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hr 15 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground chicken
1 tsp. salt plus more for seasoning
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 T fennel seeds
1 T dried oregano
2 tsp. chili powder
3 tsp. arrowroot powder
2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
4 c. chicen stock
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
1 c. shredded jack cheese to sprinkle atop, optional
1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add 1 tsp. salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add ground chicken and cook through, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the arrowroot, add beans, Swiss chard, corn and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer uncovered for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about a quarter and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the jack cheese and chopped parsley and serve.