This is a relatively easy recipe, enjoyed by kids and adults. I've served at parties and work potlucks and it's always the first thing to go. If serving to children (or wimpy adults!) be cautious about spicing it up-start mild and add spices to taste after it's cooked. Remember, chili powder gets spicier as it cooks.
I really recommend using dried beans-I like the texture better, and they are much, much cheaper than canned. If you're lucky enough to get local dairy products and chickens, use those, too.
*1/2 pound dried navy beans (about a cup), picked over, OR 2 cans white/cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
*1 large onion, chopped
*1 TBS olive oil
*4 TBS unsalted butter
*1/4 cup all-purpose flour
*2 cups chicken broth
*1 cup half-and-half or milk
*1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
*1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (or to taste...be careful if yours is very spicy)
*2 teaspoons ground cumin
*1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
*1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
*1 7 oz can chopped mild green chiles
*1 1/2 cups frozen corn
*5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cooked and shredded (I saute them-see below-or poach them)
*1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or white cheddar(about 6 ounces)
*1/2 cup sour cream (light is fine; can add more to taste)
-If using dried beans, rinse, then cover with two inches of water in large pot, bring to boil, then remove from heat and let sit for an hour. Drain. Place back in the pot, cover again with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for an hour or until beans are soft.
-If you want to saute your chicken breasts, salt and pepper them. Heat 1 TBS olive oil and 1 TBS of the listed butter over medium heat in large soup pot until sizzling. Add chicken breasts and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Remove, let cool enough to handle, and shred. (If you happen to have a stand mixer, try this great new technique for shredding meat: put your chicken in the bowl of the mixer with the paddle attachment and turn it on low to medium-magic!) Don't clean the pan.
-Cook onion in 1 TBS olive oil (or the oil-butter mixture from above) in soup pot until soft and turning golden.
-Leave onion in pot. Add (remaining)butter to pot, let melt,and whisk in flour. Cook this roux for 3 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring, or until it starts to turn golden (be careful not to burn). Gradually add broth and half and half or milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then simmer, whisking occasionally, for 5 minutes or until thick. Add tabasco, chiles, chile powder, peppers, salt, pepper, and cumin. Stir in beans, corn, chicken and either:
-Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Transfer to crock pot and cook on low for the afternoon.
-Stir in cheese, cilantro, and sour cream at end of cooking period.
-If you'd like, pass extra cheese, sour cream, and cilantro when serving.
-If it's too thick, add a little more chicken broth or some beer.
-You can spice it up with some jalapeno or extra chile powder...
-I pureed the peppers in a food processor once before adding them and really liked the way it made the flavors blend.