Saturday, April 6, 2013

Eat Great: Chili Blanco

For a while I have been trying to eat healthier, not in a diet sense just eating better, eating Well. Mostly that means cooking with fresher, local, organic ingredients (even growing my own) without really worries about taking food out like no meat, no carbs, etc. If anything it has been more a 'anything in moderation' type where I have limited them instead - less red meat, less carbs, less sugar, etc. Only recently did I go to what could be considered a diet but I consider more of a lifestyle change - but that is its own post. Since I like cooking and that means modifying or creating recipes, and I still like man-friendly food, I will start to post my creations here for others to use or inspire them to make their own creations. The first entry is a healthier version of a very man-friendly food: chili.


It is a take on a type you probably have seen - white chicken chili. Poultry is seen as healthier than red meat (unless you get free-range beef), but that is not necessarily true - instead the replacement is more for the flavor profile than difference in health. This is just about making a white versus red chili. You can pick if you prefer chicken or turkey, heck you could even skip the meat altogether. To make the white sauce I use coconut milk for its many benefits mainly being high in omega fatty acids (3, 6 & 9) instead of chicken broth or even canned cream of (pick your choice) soup depending on the recipe. Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are included with white beans for additional nutrition from protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals including Vitamin K. It may sound like we are getting close to a curry, but trust me, the coconut milk in the end is barely noticeable and the garbanzos are like any other legume (bean). OK, I'll be honest it does have a sort of a fusion taste to it, a little more exotic than standard Southwest/Tex-Mex  - but it already is white versus tomato-based chili anyway.

Chili Blanco

2 tbs olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 celery sticks, chopped

1 lb ground poultry (chicken or turkey)
1 tbsp cumin

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
1 15oz can white beans
1 15 oz can garbanzos/chickpeas
1 cup frozen corn

  • Heat Oil in large pot
  • Sautee onion, garlic, jalapeño and celery until onion translucent - about 5 minutes
  • Add meat (if used) with cumin and cilantro and cook through
  • Add coconut milk and bring to simmer
  • Add beans (white and garbanzo) and corn
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Simmer at least ten to fifteen minutes - the longer the better

To Top or not to Top

The chili is done and ready to serve. The question is whether to add toppings or not. Even with regular chili there are different preferences usually from the choices of cheese, sour cream, and raw onions among others.  You could add avocado for flavor and health benefits with similar healthy fats to the coconut milk used. It's really up to you.

It's my recipe so what did I top it with? I added Mexican shredded cheese, fresh chopped cilantro for some brightness of flavor, and the aforementioned avocado diced up.