White Bean Chili

Image via Big Oven

Image via Big Oven

By Sheilah Kaufman

Winter may be over, but that doesn't mean it's not still soup weather. Soak the beans the night before preparing this recipe. You can also serve this in tacos, or corn tortillas.


  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken pieces (breasts, thighs)
  • 1 1/ 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 lb. dried white beans soaked overnight in cold water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 to 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/ 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • large pinch of ground coves
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or dash of hot sauce
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (or more)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional

Poach chicken a large pot, in broth, for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken, slice into strips when it cools, and set aside, leaving the broth in the pot.

Drain and rinse the beans, and place in the pot with the broth.

Cook over medium (or simmer) heat until beans are tender but firm to the touch, for 45 minutes to an hour.

In a large skillet, over low heat, add the oil and sauté the onions and garlic. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the chilies, cumin, coriander, oregano, cloves, and pepper flakes.  Mix well and cook, stirring for 2 or 3 minutes, then add onion mixture to beans. Simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the chicken. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until chicken is heated thorough. Taste and adjust seasonings if need. Serve in bowls and top with cheese and cilantro.

Serves 6.


A popular lecturer and expert on Mediterranean cooking and Jewish culinary history and traditions, Sheilah has been a guest speaker for The Library of Congress, The National Book Festival, Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival  In addition, she is a popular lecturer for Jewish Federations, Hadassah, diplomatic groups, and Oasis, and has been a frequent guest on television and radio programs (including Martha Stewart Live) across the nation. Sheilah also does consulting and has developed recipes and served as a national spokesperson for a number of international companies. Visit Sheilah's website here!