Tuesday, April 9, 2013

on the menu: White Chicken Chili

Photo Credit: shaunaniequist.com
Let me be honest. I am not a fan of beans. I haven't ever liked them. But I kind of sort of maybe a teensy bit, like white beans. I do not love them, but I do not detest them as much as other beans. Black beans? Forget it. Baked beans? No way. Refried Beans? Who in their right mind likes mushy brown beans?! No. I am not a fan of any bean other than white. So when I found a chili recipe without all the mushy, black, brown beans, I rejoiced. My husband loves chili, so I wanted to find a healthy version of chili he loves so much. Now, this chili is more like a soup but still delicious and perfect for cold, wintery days.

This recipe is from Shauna Niequist's new book, Bread & Wine. (Have I mentioned how fantastic this book is?!) The recipe is super easy, super healthy, and super adaptable. And super delicous. If you live in Oklahoma, make it tonight, because apparently we are having severe winter weather tonight. In April. :) Cause, ya know, that's how we roll.

White Chicken Chili
Serves 6
from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist, pg. 110, Zondervan, 2013.

1-1.5 pounds chicken: breasts, tenders, or boneless skinless thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces. Cook in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add one container of salsa, preferably fresh. Or green salsa.
Cook until chicken is almost cooked through, about five minutes.
Drain all 4 cans of beans. Add 2 cans as they are, and mash 2 cans with a fork or the back of a wooden spoon, then add them.
Add four cups of broth.
Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Simmer for at least 30 minutes, but, really, the longer the better.

Serve with cilantro, wedges of lime, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, chips, sour cream, and salsa.  I will warn you, however, that sometimes what began as a thoroughly virtuous soup becomes a very large meal consisting mainly of cheese & chips with a very occasional bite of soup. Or at least that’s what I’ve heard.

**I prepared the chili slightly differently. It was Sunday, and I wanted to let all the flavors blend and simmer and bubble together nicely, so I put all the beans, broth, and salsa in my crock pot. Boiled the chicken, shredded it, and added it to the chili. It turned out deliciously!

Monday, April 8, 2013

On Bread & Wine


Let me just start by saying, I am so excited about this post. Extremely excited. Over the top, over the moon excited. Get the point? Good. Let's do this.

In 2009, I was recommended to read Shauna Niequist's book Cold Tangerines by a writer friend. I remember the year clearly because I read the book the summer before I was due to start my first year of college. I read Cold Tangerines in a week. I gobbled it up, marked my favorite chapters, read and re-read chapters. Shauna's writing inspired me to be better, be honest, be a little more open to people. She has a true gift and since that summer of 2009, I have been a huge fan of Miss Niequist. That being said, I am so honored to have been able to read her newest book, Bread & Wine, early and to have the chance to blog about it. I, along with you all, will be buying my copy tomorrow, on its release date and I cannot be more excited to do so! :)

Bread & Wine is a book about life and community around the table. What happens when people let down their guard, open their front door, and let people in to their lives. It's about peace and grace and kindness to yourself. Laughter, love, faith and the things you can experience if you just people into the scarier parts of your life. We were never meant to live in this world alone and I know so many people who are trying and failing to do life that way.  We were meant to comfort each other, and love each other. And Bread & Wine tells you just that.

In Bread & Wine, there is an amazing array of recipes sprinkled throughout the book. White chicken chili, sea salted toffee, breakfast cookies, maple balsamic pork tenderloin, just to name a few. And so far, the ones I have tried have been fantastic. Seriously simple to make, and so delicious. My husband, who is not picky at all, has loved every one I have made. They're simple, delicious and huge plus for me and my hubs, healthy. They can be adapted, changed, and easily interpreted into something that is suitable for your family or party. (Trust me, though, they are great the way they are). This book is now my go-to. For a lesson on shame or determination or forgiveness, Shauna's words never fail to teach me.

Shauna has once again made me realize why I am such a big fan of hers. Bread & Wine is amazing. Beautiful. Honest. Fun. Clever. It's a like a mini cookbook, mixed with life lessons and stories and people you would hear at a really comfy coffee date. Or, ironically, after a long, delicious dinner; the kinds of stories you hear after the wine is gone, the candles are low and the everyone's hearts and bellies are full. Shauna's writing is brilliant and Bread & Wine will inspire you. 

I reccomend books all the time, especially ones that hit home with me, so I am telling you people, buy her book. Pick up a copy, have some post its and a pen by your side, and read it. Study it, learn the recipes and open your front door. Call a friend or two, pop open a bottle of pinot noir, make some salad and bread, and get to know the people God put in your life. Love them, and cook for them, and get them to your table. You will be so glad you did.

For more information on Shauna and her previous books, head on over to her pretty new website! :)

Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine.
Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara.

She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac.

Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life–friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.