I’m not sure anything warms you up on the inside better than a hearty bowl of cheesy, rich, slightly spicy bowl of white chili. Loaded with white beans, chili, and pepper jack cheese, this is how you do winter comfort food!
This is one of those meals that I can almost always whip up in a hurry since I try to keep the ingredients in my pantry/freezer at all times. It’s a dump-in-the-pot kind of soup that is very adjustable to amount as well as spice level. And you need just a few ingredients to make it all happen.
I have been making this for about twenty years and I’m not sure I’ve ever made it the same way twice which is why I haven’t blogged it until now. So bear with me as I present you options. I’ll give you the basics first and variations later. Don’t worry; I’ve also never made a bad pot even with all of the variations, and every time I make it my family says it’s the best I’ve ever made. So, just relax and get out a big pot!
Dump in 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts,
1 – 16 oz. jar of the salsa of your choice (consider your spice level),
2 – 48 oz. jars of northern beans (drained and rinsed),
1 tsp. cumin,
and 1-2 c. chicken broth (start with 1 cup and add more later if desired).
Set the temp to medium and let all of this goodness come to a boil and then reduce to low to let it simmer for 40 min. to an hour until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks and put it back in the pot.
Grate 2-4 c. of pepper jack cheese and add it to the pot and stir.
Also, add in 4 oz. of cream cheese and stir to let it melt.
Check consistency to decide if you’d like the thickness. To thin it a bit, add in more chicken broth. You can add more spice with some chopped jalapeños, if you’d like.
Serve with lots of tortilla chips; I like mine crushed up in my bowl of yum!
Now for options:
You can use a crock pot! Instead of a soup pot, put all ingredients except the cheeses into a crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. When the chicken is cooked through, proceed as above (shred chicken and add cheeses).
You can always use chicken thighs instead of the chicken breasts, or you can even cook up a whole chicken and add the cooked chicken in at the last minute.
You can cook dried beans and add those beans to save some money. I often use a combination of pinto and northern beans. Sometimes, I use extra beans and extra chicken broth to easily and inexpensively stretch a pot for a crowd.
The amount of spice is totally adjustable. You can change the amount of cumin, you can add jalapeños, you can use different spice levels of salsa. Just taste before you add more spice. Pepper jack cheese comes in all different spice levels, so go by taste of the finished soup.
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can use boneless chicken thighs or cook a whole chicken)
- 1-16 oz. jar salsa
- 2-48 oz. jars northern beans drained and rinsed (can use dried beans that have been cooked)
- 1-2 c. chicken broth
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2-4 c. freshly grated pepper jack cheese
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- In a large soup pot, put chicken, salsa, beans, chicken broth and cumin.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer with the lid on for 40 min. to an hour or until chicken is cooked through.
- Or put all ingredients in a crock pot and cook 4-6 hours on low.
- Remove the cooked chicken and shred with two forks.
- Add freshly grated cheese and cream cheese into cooked soup and stir to melt.
- Serve with tortilla chips.