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White Chili

(recipe, Curt Ellis)

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Curt Ellis, whose film "King Corn" documents the role of corn in the American diet, took the film on tour to Iowa in December 2007. He was well-fed on the trip; this recipe was adapted from one he was served by Di Gray, of Sioux City, Iowa.


  1. 1½ lb. chicken breasts or thighs, skinless and boneless
  2. 2 pt. chicken stock, preferably homemade
  3. 48 oz. northern white beans, cooked
  4. 1 cup green onions, sliced
  5. 2 Tbsp. fresh minced garlic
  6. 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  7. 1 Tbsp. cumin
  8. ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  9. ¼ tsp. white pepper
  10. 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  11. Hot sauce, to taste


  1. Broil chicken in oven until fully cooked, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a large pot, add broth and beans and remaining ingredients. Simmer for an hour, then add the chicken pieces to warm through and serve.


Culinate editor's notes: You may wish to sauté a yellow onion and some bell peppers as a base for the chili, adding the broth, beans, and other ingredients after the onion and peppers have browned for a bit. If you prefer, buy bone-in chicken pieces (they're cheaper anyway) and brown them briefly in a pan before adding them to the chili; they'll finish cooking in the broth, and you can quickly remove them and shred the meat before serving. In addition to the hot sauce, optional garnishes include chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese. Check out the blog entry in which Curt Ellis discusses white chili.