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Award-Winning Chili


Peter Kaminsky's contribution to the tailgate was a white chili, made with beans, chicken and lots of cheese. The recipe was created by Todd and Nancy Walters, who won a Kansas City cook-off on a night when the blue haze of barbecuing filled the air for miles. Not since the ancient Greeks sacrificed thousands of oxen before battle, it seemed, had so much prime meat been grilled in one place at one time.

The beans must soak overnight, so plan accordingly.

  1. 1 pound dried Great Northern or other white beans (about 2 1/2 cups), picked over and rinsed
  2. 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  3. 1 quart chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  4. 1 tablespoon pure olive oil
  5. 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  6. Two 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles
  7. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  8. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  10. 1 1/4 pounds Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (7 cups)
  11. Salt
  12. 3 to 4 jalapeños—halved, seeded and coarsely chopped
  13. Sour cream, for serving
  1. In a large saucepan, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and let soak overnight. Drain the beans, return them to the saucepan and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain the beans.
  2. Meanwhile, put the chicken breasts in a saucepan and add the chicken stock; if necessary, add a little water to cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat until the chicken is just opaque throughout, about 15 minutes. Transfer the breasts to a plate to cool, then shred. Boil the stock over high heat until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 4 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the canned chiles, garlic, cumin and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the beans, chicken, reduced stock and 4 cups of the cheese and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt.
  4. Ladle the chili into large bowls and top each serving with 1/4 cup of cheese and a generous sprinkling of the chopped jalapeños. Serve the sour cream and the remaining cheese and chiles on the side.
Make Ahead The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight.
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