This delicious White Chicken Corn Chili is easy to make and is packed with chicken, white beans, chili peppers, corn, and a spice blend you are going to LOVE!
I created this recipe for the dairy farm families of New England as part of an ongoing partnership. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the organizations and brands that make A Dish of Daily Life possible!
Summer was here…and then it wasn’t.
It seems like cooler weather moved in overnight. I’m going to miss summer, but I also enjoy fall. The changing of the leaves is beautiful in New England. The cooler temperatures make it easier to sleep at night, especially since we have 4 large dogs in our room, who seem to generate a lot of heat. We always have one or two of them sleeping on the bed.
Generally about this time of year, I start making a switch over to more comfort foods on the menu, which means soup and chili!
I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel like chili is one of those dishes that is leftover perfection. I love making a big pot and eating it over several days. Our family has several different chili recipes, a number of which have never made in onto the blog. I’m going to have to work on that this fall and winter!
This White Chicken Corn Chili is one I’ve been perfecting for years. I make it all the time and am constantly changing it up. I think this time I finally have the recipe the way I want it!
COMPARING TYPES OF CREAM
Do you know the difference with heavy cream, light cream and half-and-half?
The main difference is in the milkfat content and how you use it in cooking. Half-and-half is made with equal parts milk and heavy cream. Half-and-half contains between 10.5 and 18% milkfat. You could easily make your own half-and-half at home, if you have heavy cream and milk on hand. Most of the time half and half is used in coffee, but you could use it in a variety of ways. Try it in place of milk when you are making eggs in the morning…you’ll get a creamier scrambled egg. You could also use it to make an extra rich macaroni and cheese. For that matter, you could do the same with light cream! And did you know you can freeze it?!
Light cream is between 18 and 30% milkfat. It has more fat than half-and-half, but it’s not as rich and creamy as heavy cream. You can use it in soups and sauces, but there is a risk of curdling, so you definitely need to temper it when adding it.
Heavy cream has at least 36% milkfat. Heavy cream is more suited to soups and sauces, because there is less of a risk of curdling. However, it is higher in fat, so that’s a choice you’ll have to make.
COOKING WITH CREAM
I used heavy cream in my White Chicken Corn Chili. I did temper it before I added it to the chili —probably force of habit more than anything. However, it is an absolute must if you switch out to light cream.
The reason I use heavy cream is the richness and the fact that heavy cream is more filling, which means I have less of a tendency to overeat.
Dairy has some important health benefits, such as high levels of calcium and phosphorus, minerals important to bone health. As we age, bone health becomes more and more important.
There are also some studies that suggest that full fat dairy products may give you a decreased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. However, if you are eating a lot of full fat dairy, there’s extra calories to worry about. So, when deciding whether you want to use light or heavy cream, it’s probably best to simply weigh the odds and look at your own situation. I’m very active athletically and run 5-6 days a week as well, so I don’t really worry about the extra calories involved.
PARTNERING WITH NEW ENGLAND DAIRY
I’ve been working with New England Dairy for the past several years. It’s a natural fit for me, as I love to cook with dairy — and I also have somewhat of a cheese addiction!
Over the years, I’ve become more and more interested in learning more about how what we eat affects our environmental footprint. To me, that means buying local dairy, produce and meat whenever I can. But farmers are doing even more for sustainability. You can learn more about how our local New England Dairy farmers are being carbon smart, energy efficient, and much more right on New England Dairy’s website. It’s truly fascinating reading!
WHITE CHICKEN CORN CHILI
There’s about twenty minutes prep time involved, and forty minutes of cooking time, so you can have this on the table in an hour. I like to do all my chopping ahead of time so everything is ready to go.
This time of year, I use fresh corn when it’s available. If I am using fresh corn, I cut the corn from the cobs ahead of time. I do not cook it first, because it will cook in the chili.
I also rinse my white beans ahead of time. The rinsed beans from one can go into the food processor or blender (whatever you have will work) with a cup of the chicken broth. Set aside both the processed beans and rinsed whole beans.
Add the oil to large pot, and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, jalapeño and poblano peppers, and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Note: if you’re looking for a spicy chili, include some of the seeds from the peppers.
Then add the cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne and salt and continue to cook for another minute.
Add the remaining 3 cups of chicken broth and puréed beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered.
Then add the chicken, the remainder of the white beans, and corn. Allow to simmer for a few minutes. If you are using light cream, you need to temper the cream with some of the heated broth before adding the cream to the chili. I usually do it with heavy cream as well, but it’s not as necessary. After adding the cream, allow the chili to simmer on low for a few minutes longer.
Stir in cilantro and lime juice; remove from heat.
CANNED VERSUS FRESH CHILES
Most canned chiles are Anaheim chiles, which are milder than jalapeños. Anaheims have a wider heat range than poblanos, but overall I feel like their spiciness is fairly similar. You can definitely substitute one for the other. The poblano chili has an earthier flavor: Anaheims have a sweeter flavor. My local grocery store seems to have poblanos more often than Anaheims, so that’s what I tend to cook with.
I also feel like most of the canned chiles are on the mild side, and I like a bit of a kick, so I prefer to use fresh peppers. I grew jalapeños this summer, so I’ve been just taking them right from the garden as I need them. If you want to use canned chiles, you can substitute them. In this recipe, I’m guesstimating you could use substitute a 4 oz can for the chilis used in the recipe.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE TOPPINGS
A good chili just isn’t complete without all the toppings! I have to admit I pile them on. Here’s some suggestions to serve with your chili:
- Tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
- Shredded cheese (I like to use a mixture of cheddar and Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack)
- Chopped green onions
- Chopped or sliced avocado
- Sliced jalapeño pepper rings
- Chopped cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Sour cream
- 2 cans small white beans, drained and rinsed (14.5 oz)
- 4 cups chicken broth, divided
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced*
- 2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced*
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp salt, freshly ground
- 4 cups shredded or chopped chicken
- 1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup heavy cream (light cream can be substituted)
- 1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
- shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
- green onions, chopped
- cilantro, chopped
- avocado, chopped or slices
- lime wedges
- sour cream
Rinse the white beans. In a food processor or blender, blend beans from 1 can with 1 cup of chicken broth. Set aside both processed and whole beans.
Chop the onion, jalapeño and poblano peppers, and mince the garlic.
If using fresh corn, cut the corn from the cobs. 3 cobs should give you 1 1/2 cups. Do not cook the corn. It will cook in the chili.
Add the oil to large pot, and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, jalapeño and poblano peppers, and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Note: if you're looking for a spicy chili, include some of the seeds from the peppers.
Now add cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne and salt and continue to cook for another minute.
Add the remaining 3 cups of chicken broth and puréed beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for another 20 minutes, uncovered.
Then add the chicken, the reminder of the white beans, and corn. Allow to simmer for a few minutes.
Temper* the cream with some of the heated broth before adding it to the chili. After adding the cream, allow the chili to simmer on low for a few minutes longer.
Stir in cilantro and lime juice; remove from heat.
Serve with any or all of the following: tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, chopped or sliced avocado, sliced jalapeño pepper rings, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and sour cream.
*Temper: Before you add the cream, you want to gradually add small amounts of hot liquid to the cream, warming it slowly, before adding it. Then you will add the "tempered" mixture to the hot liquid. This is especially important if substituting light cream for heavy cream.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1095Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 194mgSodium: 821mgFiber: 19gSugar: 14gProtein: 61g