Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 26, 2021

© Eva Kolenko

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White chicken poblano chili

A satisfying white chicken chili in which you cook a whole chicken

Here’s a more satisfying version of white chicken chili in which you cook a whole chicken instead of using boneless breasts and create your own chicken stock in the process. Poblano chillies can vary in heat intensity from very mild to medium-hot. This recipe calls for seeded and stemmed fresh chillies, but if you like more heat, just remove the stem and leave the seeds and the white membranes intact.

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
10 c. (2.5 L) water
2 tbsp. (30 g) butter
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive or vegetable oil
1 white onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
6 to 8 poblano chillies, roasted (see instructions below)
1 jalapeño chili, seeded, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 lb. (455 g) dried Great Northern beans, rinsed and soaked in water for 2 to 3 hours (about 2½ c. / 625 ml)
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) chili powder
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) cayenne pepper
1½ tbsp. (22.5 ml) ground cumin
2 tbsp. (30 ml) masa harina
1 c. (250 ml) whole milk
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt, or to taste
white pepper
sour cream, to garnish

Put the chicken in a stockpot over medium heat and add the water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, set aside and allow to cool. Reserve the broth and add water, if necessary, to yield 8 cups (2 L). Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Then remove the meat from the bones — you should have about 3 cups (750 ml) of cooked chicken.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the butter and oil. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened, about 8 minutes, being careful not to brown the vegetables. Reserve 1 poblano for the garnish and cut it into long, thin strips. Chop the remaining poblanos and add to the pot along with the sliced jalapeños and drained soaked beans. Add the chili powder, cayenne and cumin.

Add the chicken broth and cook for 1 hour. Add the chicken and continue cooking for another hour, until the beans are fully cooked.

Alternatively, transfer the chili to a slow-cooker set on low and cook for at least 6 and up to 8 hours.

When the beans are thoroughly cooked, dissolve the masa harina in the milk and add to the pot. Cook for an additional 15 minutes on high, and add salt and white pepper to taste.

Serve garnished with sour cream and the reserved roasted poblano chili strips. Serves 6 to 8.

Roasted green chillies

Poblanos, Anaheims and the long green chili of New Mexico have tough skins, so these chillies are usually roasted and the charred skins removed. Whatever you don’t use right away can be frozen easily for longer storage.

12 fresh New Mexican long green chillies, Anaheim chillies or green poblano chillies

Rinse the fresh peppers and allow to dry. Set the oven to broil. Line a broiling pan or baking sheet with aluminum foil, place the chillies on top and place the pan under the broiler. When the skin is well blistered and charred, after about 5 minutes, rotate the chillies to expose more green skin to the flame. Don’t overdo it — if they turn completely black, there won’t be any flesh left to cook with. When the peppers are blistered all over, wrap them in wet paper towels, place them inside a plastic bag and set it aside to steam gently for 10 to 15 minutes or until the skins are very loose.

When you remove the towels, most of the skins should come off easily. Scrape off the rest with a butter knife. Cut off the stem and remove the seeds with the side of a butter knife. (Don’t rinse with water or you’ll loose the flavour.)

Keep the roasted chillies in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for chillies for several months in packages containing four or five chillies each — enough for an average recipe. Makes 1 dozen.

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