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Slow Cooker Chicken & White Bean Chili

After bubbling away in the crock pot all day, comforting white chili — studded with tender chicken, white beans, and tangy green chiles — is topped with your favorite garnishes: fresh cilantro, crunchy tortilla chips, gooey cheese…the possibilities are endless!

Slow Cooker / Crock Pot Chicken and White Bean Chili ~ garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips, cheese, avocado chunks, salsa, etc.  |  {Five Heart Home}This week, central Texas had our first taste of legitimate autumn temperatures this season: we dipped into the 50s overnight and actually stayed there all day! Granted, it was back up in the 70s by the following day, but the temporary change in weather was crisp and refreshing, albeit short lived.

What’s funny is the reaction of my kids when it gets “cold” (relatively speaking) for the first time in the fall. For children who step outside when it’s 80°, shiver, and say, “Wow, it’s cold out here!”, cool temperatures in the 50s come as quite a shock. Heck, who am I kidding here? 50° is cold to me! Anything below that is downright frigid.

Slow Cooker / Crock Pot Chicken and White Bean Chili ~ garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips, cheese, avocado chunks, salsa, etc.  |  {Five Heart Home}So how did we celebrate the finally-cool/cold weather after a summer spent in the high 90s or topping 100°? Why, we made soup, of course! But not just any soup…a flavorful, hearty white chili, chock full of juicy chicken, tender white beans, and green chiles, and garnished with generous amounts of fresh cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, and creamy Monterrey Jack. It’s a fiesta for your taste buds, I tell you.

Just as enticing as this warm, delicious meal is the fact that it takes mere minutes to throw together and then cooks in the crock pot all day. Who wouldn’t love coming home from a cold, blustery day to the smell of white chili bubbling away in the slow cooker? At that point, the only thing left to do is shred the chicken, add some milk for creaminess and a bit of masa or cornmeal for a fabulously flavorful undertone, and get your garnishes ready to go.

Slow Cooker / Crock Pot Chicken and White Bean Chili ~ garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips, cheese, avocado chunks, salsa, etc.  |  {Five Heart Home}Now a quick word about the suggested garnishes for this dish…don’t leave them out!  I think that they are crucially important to the final flavors and textures in this white chili. At the very least, you must include the fresh cilantro, the tortilla chips, and the cheese. These three garnishes take this meal from good to great, and I have sorely missed them the few times I’ve eaten a bowl of this chili without them, whether it was because I ran out of something or I was just in too much of a hurry to get the extra ingredients out and thought they wouldn’t ultimately make that much of a difference. Well, I’m here to tell you that they do. Even if you don’t typically care for cilantro, I implore you to try at least a little in your first few bites. You just might change your mind.

Slow Cooker / Crock Pot Chicken and White Bean Chili ~ garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips, cheese, avocado chunks, salsa, etc.  |  {Five Heart Home}As for the other garnish ideas I’ve suggested, such as avocado chunks, salsa, pico de gallo, diced jalapeños, and/or sour cream? Well, they’ll take this bowl of comforting goodness from great to over-the-top! Think of this white chili as a delicious blank canvas and add whatever Mexican/Tex-Mex/southwestern garnishes that make your mouth sing. Just be sure to start with an extra-large bowl…take my word for it.

So whether your definition of cold weather is 60° (*raising hand*) or -10°, this white chili is the definition of a meal that will warm your heart (and your toes). It’s a family favorite around our house, and I hope it becomes one at your house, too!

Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili

After bubbling away in the crock pot all day, warm, comforting white chili -- studded with juicy chicken, tender white beans, and tangy green chiles -- is topped with your favorite garnishes: fresh cilantro, crunchy tortilla chips, gooey cheese, creamy avocado, zesty salsa...the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried white beans (Navy or Great Northern)
  • 4 chicken breasts (I use frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (fresh or refrigerated jarred)
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans mild diced green chiles
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (optional)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons corn meal (or masa)
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
  • GARNISHES:
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Chunks of avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Pico de gallo
  • Pickled or fresh diced jalapeños

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain beans and place in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Lay chicken breasts on top, and add garlic, green chiles, and jalapeño (if using) to the slow cooker. Carefully pour chicken broth over ingredients, and season mixture with cumin, paprika, cayenne (if using), and black pepper. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until beans are tender.
  2. An hour before serving, remove chicken to a plate or cutting board. Mix corn meal into warm milk, stir mixture into white chili, and replace lid of slower cooker. In the meantime, cut chicken into large chunks and shred it with two forks. Add chicken back to the white chili and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or spices, if necessary. Cover and continue to cook for one more hour.
  3. Before serving, garnish white chili with a generous amount of cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, and shredded cheese, plus whatever other toppings appeal to you!

Tips, Tricks, & Variations

In lieu of chicken breasts, you may use an equivalent amount of your favorite chicken pieces. Just discard any skin or bones when you remove the chicken to shred it.

Instead of crushed tortilla chips, this white chili is also delicious with cornbread or corn tortillas.

Make this white chili as spicy or as mild as you wish by adjusting or omitting the jalapeño and/or cayenne pepper. If you just want the flavor of a fresh jalapeño without the heat, remove the seeds and membranes before finely dicing it and adding it to the crock pot.

http://www.fivehearthome.com/2013/10/18/slow-cooker-chicken-white-bean-chili/

Adapted from Pioneer Woman.

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I always love hearing from you! ~ samantha {at} five heart home {dot} com

 

This post may be linked up to House of Rose, 4 Little Fergusons, and these fabulous parties!

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Comments

  1. Samantha – I LOVE a good slow cooker recipe. I just got a brand new Cuisinart 4-in-1 slow cooker a couple months ago, and now am obsessed with it. I’m always on the look out for delicious slow cooker recipes – this looks fantastic!! Pinnning!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I totally agree, Erin…I can never have too many delicious slow cooker meals in my collection. They are such a time saver on busy days (AKA, every day!). I’m glad that this one looks good to you. Thanks so much for the pin! :)

  2. I would have never though Texas got that cold! But of course, that’s a bit warmer than it’s been here in the higher elevations (Utah). We’ve been dipping down in the high 20s at night and warming up to a balming 48 during the day. Gotta be a bit sad when summer leaves us, right? Which brings me to this amazing chili… love, love, love this chili! Can’t wait to make it for the family… my boys are going to love it! Already pinned!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      It does cool down here, Gloria, but we don’t get the 20s-40s temperatures that you’re describing until the dead of winter. Some years we can wear shorts on Thanksgiving or even Christmas, and other years, it’s pretty cold! But yes, I’m definitely a summer girl at heart! However, I’m happy to put my crock pot to good use and make lots of soups and stews when the temperature dips. :) So glad to hear that this one looks good to you, and I do hope your boys enjoy it…thanks for the pin!

  3. I know! Yeah for cooler temps in Texas, this weekend was beautiful. I love white bean chicken chili, its a great alternate to the regular red chili. This sounds great! Thanks for sharing at Show Stopper Saturday! Pinning!

    Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much for the pin, Krista! I’m going to enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasts. I’ll think the temperature is miserable once it gets much colder…but at least that will be a good excuse for more soups and more crock pot meals! ;)

  4. Yummmm! This looks delicious, Samantha! I could definitely use some warmth today– it’s in the 40s and rainy here in PA. Yuck! I also must say that you have the prettiest food photography! You really make everything look beautiful. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

    ~Abby =)

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      You are so sweet, Abby. That weather does not sound like my favorite kind…I think soup is definitely in order! And I appreciate your kind words about my photos. I feel like I learn something new every day but still have a long way to go! I really appreciate you stopping by…hope your week is going well, too! Stay warm and dry! :)

  5. oh this sounds like it needs a spot on our weekly soup and sandwich night.
    come see what we shared

  6. Cindee Sharp says:

    My co-worker makes this for the office about once per year. I think it’s high time I made some and kept it all to myself! I mean, myself and my family. ;)

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Ha, Cindee! I agree…you definitely need to make a big vat of this white chili all for you your family! ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I cannot WAIT to try this recipe, Samantha! It sounds like perfection right now!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Liz! It’s one of my favorites when the temperature dips. I hope your family enjoys it, too! Happy Friday!

  8. I am so glad I stopped by Live Laugh Linky Thursday and saw this post because I had been looking for a crockpot white bean chili recipe! I love my regular chili, but I wanted something that wasn’t too hard and switch it up a bit since I have tons of chicken to use. I will be pinning this! I am starting my first ever link-up party tomorrow called Family Fridays and I am kinda nervous :/ Maybe you can stop by and share something! Have a great day!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Sounds like it was meant to be, Carli…I hope you enjoy this white chili now that you’ve found it! Thanks for the invite to your party. I hope it goes well, and I’ll try to stop by and check it out! :)

  9. This looks so yummy. I can’t wait to try it but I have one question. Do you use dry beans or canned?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Monique! That’s a great question, and I will go back and clarify it in the recipe. You use dried beans. Hope you enjoy! :)

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