Beans, beans, the magical food

This weekend I was actually kind of excited to go shopping. I had my list of fruits and veggies I was planning on buying (and subsequently eating) this week. I also had a list of beans.

scan and hand to hubby

We’ve been shopping using the scan, bag, go at Kroger. It works out pretty well. We bring our own bags, I scan and hand it to him, and he uses his Tetris brain to pack it all up.

We started in the produce section because you walk in and there it is. There were strawberries and lettuces, spinach and zucchini, carrots and onions, and more. Clark said that if I was going to hand him any more produce, he was going to need another bag. (the fun part came when I brought it all home and had to find a place for it in the fridge).

I like beans.

my son

A little while later, we turned down the bean aisle; great northern, black, kidney, pinto, and chickpeas. I’m scanning them and handing them off to Clark, and he’s making it very clear that he’s not impressed with the idea of beans. I kept assuring him that they weren’t going to taste how he thought they were going to taste.

Great Northern Beans hot soaking

Flavor can be a memory

It really all started with a memory craving. Well, kind of. It started with my quest to heal, through diet, the body that’s been neglected under the reign of a failing thyroid. During my research, I found that there is lots of evidence that a fiber rich diet leads to a well balanced body. So many things fall under the category of fiber, and beans (aka pulses) are one of them. Somewhere along my research I was reminded of a bowl of chili I once ate.

I could almost taste it when I closed my eyes

Long ago in my youth I was served a bowl of white bean chicken chili. I knew in the way a child knows that I hated beans. I was also too polite to say so out loud. I reluctantly took that bowl of chili. I was surprised to find that it was delicious.

I was hoping to recapture that flavor and turn Clark into a “bean’s can taste good” believer. Not finding a recipe that called to me, I created one of my own.

It’s got good flavor, but I’m still not a fan of the texture of beans.

my husband

First up: Great Northern beans

I recently read that forgetting to soak kidney beans can be dangerous. I wondered if there was prep work for all dry beans. I headed off to google to find out. I found this great article on the University of Nebraska – Lincoln website. They’ve even got a printable PDF for easy referencing.

I decided on the hot soak method. I spent about an hour examining the beans before rinsing them and setting them on the stove to come to a boil. They boiled for just a couple of minutes. I plopped a lid (this typo’d as kid, lol) on them and moved them to a back (cool) burner. There they sat for four hours.

After that, I gave them a cold water rinse. I dropped them into a pot and covered them back up with water (to about an inch above the beans). I brought them back up to a boil dropped a lid (not a kid) on top, reduced it to low, and simmered them for about an hour. I dumped them into a strainer which I set over a bowl to finish dripping while I worked on the next steps.

My one pound bag of great northern beans became six cups of cooked beans. I froze the other three cups for another day.

Creamy White Bean Chicken Chili

I like it.

my daughter

Creamy White Bean Chicken Chili recipe

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 onion, diced (I chose red for a pop of color, but sadly it faded)
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 1/2 cups water, divided (or 1/2 cup water and 4 cups broth)
  • 4 tsp better than bouillon (I like to use half chicken and half vegetable myself) *omit if using broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 3 cups cooked great northern beans (mash two cups of them with the 1/2 cup of water)
  • 4 oz can of diced green chilis (you can drain them if you like)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large pot. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Drain and set aside (I gave my pot a quick rinse here, but I’m not entirely certain why, lol).

In same pot, heat remaining tablespoon of oil. Add both kinds of onions. Cook until mostly translucent. Add garlic. Cook until fragrant (just a minute or two).

Creamy White Bean Chicken Chili simmering

Mix in water and better than bouillon (or broth if you prefer). Stir in seasonings. Add in beans, chilis, and corn. Mix chicken back in. Bring to a simmer. Reduce to medium low and cover.

Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. Drop in cream cheese. Stir until melted and fully incorporated.

Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.


I’ll call it a success

There you have it. Our first fibrous adventure into the great wide world of beans. Overall, I would call it a success. The kids and I enjoyed it, and Clark liked the flavor. Maybe he’ll learn to accept the texture.

Do you have a flavor memory? Tell me about it.

Did you try my Creamy White Bean Chicken Chili recipe? Let me know how your family liked it (or if they didn’t). Easily share it with your friends using the links below.

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