The Revealing, Secret Diaries of a Not-So-Secret Foodie

“Can”nellini Bean

In Essay, Faith, Food, Gab, Photos, Recipe on April 24, 2011 at 9:32 pm
Doug's White Chicken Chili with Fresh Cilantro and Jalapeno Garnishes

Doug’s White Chicken Chili with Fresh Cilantro and Jalapeno Garnishes

My next recipe was given to me by my sister, yes the very same sister who doesn’t really cook.  The one to whom I have dedicated this blog, Lori Anne.  You might wonder how it came to be that she gave me a recipe, a recipe so good and well-received that it has ended up in my keeper box filed under the letter “C”, for “Chili”.  Well, this is not your average chili. It is spectacular.  There is always a story, right?  Well here it is.

My little sister invited my husband, son and I over for a quick dinner before trick-or-treating with our kids.  Lori’s favorite holiday is Halloween.  She always goes all out.  That year she told me she’d found a recipe she wanted to try.  She saw it in a cookbook that she had picked up while on vacation.  She was going to make it for dinner. Hmmm, Lori was going to make us something for dinner.  I have to admit, I was intrigued the moment she said “I found a recipe in a cookbook”.  It is not that Lori can’t cook.   Rather, it isn’t her thing.  She’d prefer to have someone else do the cooking while she kept them company.  She just isn’t the type to peruse cookbooks, much less do it for leisure while on vacation.  Or, so I thought.

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Lori I have learned is full of surprises.  She can do whatever she puts her mind to.  You would think  I’d have learned that by now.  Like the time she got those big round brown glasses in fourth grade.  Turns out that for years, far away things were a blur.  From the backseat, aloud with pride she read every sign she passed with her corrected vision.  Burger King, Kmart…you get the gist.  To me it seemed she was celebrating the new crisp detail of her world.  The crisp detail that until that day, her 20/20- sister took for granted. At about that same time she also declared she was going to be an eye doctor.  You know what?  She never changed her mind.   Sixteen years later, she did it.

And then there was the time she was practicing her flips at the playground.  She was always gymnastically inclined.  I, however, was not.  From the swings, I would watch her spin around that metal high bar without fear.  With a touch of envy, I would wonder how she did it.  Why wasn’t she afraid of falling?  Around and around she’d go, sometimes without stopping.  Once finished, she’d end with a flip and land on her feet.  Until the day she dropped to the ground.  Hitting her head so hard, it caused her to throw-up.  As I carried her home, several thoughts ran through my mind.  Afraid, I prayed she’d be ok.  I also thought for sure she’d never try that again.  Lori was ok and thankfully, I was wrong about her not attempting that high bar again.   That  incident would not keep my sister from doing what she liked to do.  As a matter of fact, sometime later that same bar claimed her front tooth, but do you think she stopped the gymnastics?  NOPE.

From a young age I always believed my sister was fearless.  I thought she inherited the fearless gene.  A gene I was certain I lacked.  I attributed this to her natural ability to perform in front of crowds whether tumbling, cheering on a basketball team or performing complicated dance routines at half-time.  The idea of doing anything in front of a crowd would be enough to make my brow break into a sweat.  Believe it or not, I still get nervous when I serve a crowd something I’ve cooked up,  share a favorite recipe, or hit publish on this blog.   It took me a while to figure it out, but I now know that Lori is not fearless.  Rather, she just has a wonderful sense of who she is and where it is that she needs to go.  Even when faced with life-changing adversity she somehow manages to maintain a clear view of her dreams.  Maybe it’s those  glasses.  I don’t know, but I do know that she doesn’t let any fear, big or small, keep her from chasing those dreams.  Her “can” do attitude seems to make the impossible, possible.  Always up for a challenge, I think she enjoyed cooking for the family foodie ; ).  That Halloween night she had put her mind to making a fantastic White Chicken Chili.  And you know what?  She succeeded.

The Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Officer’s Wives’ Club Cookbook, A Taste of Freedom, caught my sister’s eye while visiting Beaufort, South Carolina.  Within its pages Doug’s White Chicken Chili stirred her inner foodie.  Perhaps Brooke Dunlap’s recipe appealed to the southerner within, connecting  with her very distant bluegrass roots.   Or, more likely it was the source of the recipe.  One can only admire the “can do” attitude of a military wife.  I’ve seen it first hand.  Whatever is the case, I am happy my sister found this keeper and shared it with me for it is a memorable meal.

So if you are inclined, give this one a try.  Perhaps Doug’s White Chicken Chili will become one of your favorites.  I find that pan-searing the chicken breasts will give the chili the best flavor, but I bet shredded meat from a rotisserie chicken would yield fabulous results in a quicker amount of time.  Although the amounts of onion, garlic and spices seem a lot, do not skimp.   They are in perfect proportions.   Be sure to follow the technique of “blooming” the spices in the sizzling olive oil because it infuses the chili with a wonderful flavor and gives this chili its character.    If you like your chili on the thicker side, mash ½ can of the cannellini beans before adding to the pot.

Doug’s White Chicken Chili


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3 cups onion, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

4 teaspoons dried oregano

3 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon dried powdered mustard (optional, an addition not found in original recipe)

3 cups chicken broth  (I prefer Kitchen Basics chicken stock in the yellow box)

1 cup Marsala Cooking Wine

2 bay leaves

4 cups of chicken, cooked & shredded

3 cans of white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 16-ounce bag of organic frozen sweet corn

10 slices of canned mild jalapeno slices

3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded

1 teaspoon salt (can omit if you like)

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in large dutch oven.  Add onion and saute 5-8 minutes.  Add garlic, oregano, cumin and ground ginger (and dried powdered mustard if using).  Stir well and cook for 1 minute.  Add broth, wine and bay leaf.  Cook uncovered over medium heat until somewhat reduced.  Add shredded chicken, beans, corn and Jalapenos.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Mash 1/2 can of beans and stir in to thicken sauce.  Add shredded cheese one handful at a time, stirring until it is well incorporated.  Serve with cornbread,  if desired.  Cilantro, Shredded Cheese and fresh slices of Jalapenos make a great garnish by adding a nice pop of color.

P. S.  Happy Easter Lori.   I’m so glad the Cottage Potatoes turned out!  Thanks for calling to let me know of your success.  It made me happy.

Tree Frogs. October of 2010. Blue View.

  1. Sue, again another thoughtful and loving story. I’m glad I’m your mom! Each one of my kids have such individual talents from God.

    Those glasses in 4th grade gave Lori a mission. From the time we walk out of the optometrist office and she could see my face clearly, her mission was set!! “All children should be able to see their mother’s face clearly across a kitchen table or walking toward them at the mall,” she said. Here I thought she squinted at me because it was one of her little dork’s that made her our “Lorkal”, when all the while she was trying to clear up her view. I remember the day I discovered her vision problem. I was on a bowling league and took her with me since she was home ‘sick’ from school. I let her throw my warm up ball and she said, “what am I throwing at”? I told her the pins. She said “what pins”. She couldn’t see the hugh overhead scoreboard or the arrows on the lane either. Needless to say, we were at the Optometrist with in the hour. He turned out the lights and asked her to read the letters she could see. She said “E”! She could only see the top large black “E”. I cried – when the h-ll did this occur? So much for being the good mother. Love you post and you. Mom.

    • Thx mom. Nope you are not a good mom: You are a GREAT mom. Vision can change over a short period of time. Besides, she wasn’t supposed to see well. She would have missed her calling of being an optometrist. Besides remember the sign we bought her for her birthday last year “Sometimes, the only way you can see things differently is to look at them differently”. Awesome saying.

  2. “The very things that held you down are going to CARRY you up.” Dumbo. One of favorite quotes, it would be from Dumbo:)
    Whether its bad vision, become Optometrist, to a tremor, become advocate for Parkinson’s disease. I truly believe there is always a silver lining! Thats something I learned from my Big sis and Mom. By the way Sue, I have a business plan for you! You need to publish this as a Cook book with partial profits to MJJF! Always looking up! Love you. Thank you!:) U Rock! Lori

  3. YUMMY!! Everybody loved it! I left out the jalepenos and it was still very delicious! Thanks for sharing!! I took a picture too for you ; )

    • Yeah! So glad you liked it! Thanks for trying. Did your kiddos like it too? My littlest was begging for more on Superbowl Sunday. Can’t wait to see your picture.

  4. I love my chili, whether it’s red, green, or white, even vegetarian chili. I’ve enjoyed this white chili at Lori’s and it is a winner. Very hearty with just the right bite. I serve it with my mom’s Mexican cornbread, and it’s always a hit.

    • Thank you for stopping by my site. You know this foodie is dyin’ to have your mamma’s Mexican cornbread. If you find the time, please share. My husband loves cornbread with his chili. It would be nice to serve him up something new. ——suebthefoodie

  5. Wonderful soup Sue B. Thanks The family favorite. I made my own stock and used a little more than called for. Sargento makes a spicy Monterrey Jack cheese that added a bit of zip to the soup. Only if you like spicy. We had it for New Years after I read that lentils bring good luck in the New Year. Love your writings and recipes.

    • WL, thank you so much for connecting with me and leaving your comment for me to enjoy. Your unexpected phone call really made my heart smile. So wonderful to hear the voice of a long ago friend. So happy you found one that brings your family to the table. If yours enjoyed the Doug’s white chicken chili, they might also like my Gramma’s version of Ham and Bean: another cannellini star performance. Lentils, black-eyed peas or cannellin beans: all shining stars. Luck is a state of mind ; ) –suebthefoodie

  6. […] take a look at the recipe here I got from suebthefoodie and follow that  when making this the first time, but you know mine was really good as well even […]

    • So glad you enjoyed! Lovely photos. I adore chickens. What a beautiful image of your neighbor ;). -Cheers

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