There’s a chill in the air tonight and I wanted a pot of chili. Only problem is, I didn’t have the correct ingredients to make a pot, but I did have an assortment of “other” ingredients on hand so I decided to make a white bean chili. The white beans, known as Cannellini beans, are just white (or rather a creamy beige color) kidney beans, sold in the can by many brands (the ones I bought are Bush’s). Some people make a chili like this with chicken or ground turkey but the chicken I had was frozen and no ground turkey in the house. I did however have some chicken Italian sausage I picked up at Target, so that’s how I’m making it tonight. Here’s the recipe in case you want to give this one a try!
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves removed from stems. Stems chopped like celery and leaves chopped
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cans Cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp chicken stock base
3 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 package chicken Italian sausage sliced thin
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and chard stems and saute until tender, add the chopped chard leaves and cook for 3-4 minutes. Pour in the white wine and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add the minced garlic, beans and tomatoes. Add the water and the chicken stock base (or vegetable stock base, both sold in supermarkets on the bouillon cube aisle), then season with the cumin powder. Add the Italian sausage and cook over low heat for 45 minutes. I usually cover the pot but vent the lid so some of the moisture will evaporate and the chili will thicken.
Several years back when I represented Bruno’s Supermarkets, I participated in the “Taste of the Summit” food exhibition at The Summit shopping center in Birmingham. This elegant take on a southern favorite, creamed chicken and grits, was my featured recipe for the event. I also cooked this one on Good Day Alabama’s morning cooking segment in 2002. In this recipe, I take a few fresh ingredients that are everywhere in the south come summer time and incorporate them into the dish. The “grits recipe” is the same recipe I use with I make “shrimp and grits”.
For Chicken Supreme:
6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into pieces
1 # boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders, diced (or you can skip this step and pick up 1 rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and remove the meat from the bones)
2 cups fresh corn (removed from the cob)
1 cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp fresh Thyme leaves
In a small sauce pan, combine the corn and milk and cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until corn is tender. Drain corn, reserving the milk.
Cook the bacon in a skillet until brown and crispy. Remove bacon and reserve. In bacon grease, cook the chicken until done (5-6 minutes) and remove from the pan. To the bacon grease, add the butter and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes, then add the warm milk you cooked the corn in and the heavy cream. Cook, stirring quite often, until mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and toss in the chicken and cooked corn.
Serve chicken over a bowl of cheese grits. Top the creamed chicken with crumbled bacon, cherry tomatoes and fresh thyme leaves.
Low Country Cheese Grits:
4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grits (quick cook are best, but NOT INSTANT)
1 cup Mexican or Taco Blend shredded cheese
In a stock pot, cook the bacon until brown and remove bacon from the pot. To the bacon grease add the chicken stock and cream and heat until just boiling. With liquid starting to boil, whisk in the grits and cook, whisking constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Be careful not to let the grits “bubble” on your hand as the boiling grits have the consistency and temperature of LAVA.
Remove grits from the heat and whisk in the cheese. Add the crumbled bacon to the cooked grits.