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Pumpkin-Spiced White Chicken Chili

Mariel here. This is Sunday food through and through. Whether you’re glued to StatTracker or the TV screen; a die-hard fan of the Lions or Lifetime Originals, this hearty weekend stew is sure to fire up a few warm fuzzies. Slightly sweeter and a little less spicy than your average chili – though you can certainly turn up the heat – this subtly pumpkin-spiked rendition is a hybrid of my mom’s Harvest Soup and Cousin Bob’s Texas Beef Chili. Naturally it pairs perfectly with our Silky Buttermilk Cornbread, Cheddar Blackbean Cornbread or whatever’s on sale at your local bakery. I recommend topping this with cilantro and a hefty helping of sharp cheddar, but sliced avocado or sour cream also works well. Go sports!

Pumpkin-Spiced White Chicken Chili
Makes 8 servings

About 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs, roughly chopped into bite-size chunks – $4.80
3 15-oz cans of Cannellini beans (or Great Northerns), drained and rinsed – $2.97
1 large sweet onion, chopped – $1.29
2 4-oz cans of chopped green chiles – $2.98
3 heaping Tablespoons of canned 100% pumpkin – $1.99
2 cups fresh or frozen corn (about 2 large cob’s worth) – $1.60
3 cloves of garlic, minced or smashed – stock
1 ¾ cup low-salt chicken stock – stock
1 12-oz can of low-fat evaporated milk – $1.59
4 Tablespoons of olive oil – stock
1 Tablespoon chili powder – stock
1 teaspoon cumin – stock
½ teaspoon black pepper – stock
½ teaspoon cinnamon – stock
¼ teaspoon nutmeg – stock
¼ teaspoon salt – stock
Salt and pepper to taste – stock
2 Tablespoons of fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
¾ cup sharp cheddar, grated (optional)
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $17.22
Cost per serving: $2.15

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Chop into bite-size chunks. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and a pinch of chili powder.

2. In a large heavy skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over med-high heat. Saute the chicken until starting to brown on all sides and cooked through (no longer pink inside). About 5 minutes.

3. In a large stock pot, saute the onion in two tablespoons of olive oil until soft and tender (about 8 minutes). Stir frequently to avoid burning. Add the garlic, green chiles and all the dry spices – stir another 5 minutes.

4. Add the cooked chicken, beans, corn, stock, milk and pumpkin. Combine well and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste from time to time and adjust seasonings as desired. If you accidentally over-salt (as I’ve done in the past), add a few tablespoons of water and continue simmering.

5. Garnish with cilantro and cheddar (if desired) and serve hot. I also enjoy crumbling my cornbread right into the chili, but that’s just me.