Having all my chickens in the roost has prompted a plethora of kitchen activity over the Holiday Season.

Cookies, candies, breads, soups, stews….we won’t discuss the mess.

I have made several incarnations (Paula Dean, Giada De Laurentiis, Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman) of Chicken Chili over the last few months, trying to find or create MINE and I think this is it!

White bean chicken chili5-6 poached boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on size, mine were small – NOT A WORD – about 3-4 cups when diced)

2 cans cannellini beans (use your favorite white bean)

1/4 cup butter – 1/2 stick

1 medium onion – chopped

2 cloves chopped garlic

pinch of fennel seeds – PINCH

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Cup milk (optional)

2 Tablespoons corn meal (optional)

2 cups fresh spinach

salt & pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese

In a medium stock pot poach chicken breasts in 4 cups seasoned water. (I season with garlic salt and a bay leaf). Remove chicken and save the broth.  In the same pan saute onion over medium heat until golden. Add garlic, stir for a few minutes then add cumin, fennel seeds** and chili powder. Careful not to burn the garlic or spices.

Add beans with liquid, diced chicken pieces and enough of the reserved poaching liquid to just cover.

This was a bit thin for me.  I mixed the corn meal with the milk to make a slurry and added that to the chili. The flavor was nice subtle addition and a flourless way to thicken the chili. Pile the fresh spinach on top of the simmering mixture and cover for 10-15 minutes, then stir in the wilted spinach. Taste….add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve, top with cheese if desired. I like Parmesan.  The family likes Monterey Jack.

**Fennel flavor intensifies over time. I only used 5-6 seeds. I have used 1/4 teaspoon in an earlier recipe and the flavor was overwhelming on day two.

Enjoy! ~KB