Let’s be real. Cooking dinner every night can be a burden. It’s not that you particularly dislike doing it, it’s that more often than not, you’re the one doing it and tonight you just aren’t feeling it. So, what are the options? There’s take-away. As much as I love the idea, it comes with its own set of issues: is there anywhere in the local area that you would buy food from, and secondly, is the quality of the food to a standard that you are willing to part with your money for? We’ve recently discovered a local Thai take-away that has been consistently good. Just as we settled into it being the go-to place, the next delivery was a disaster. Which begs the question: do we write them off completely or give them the benefit of the doubt that it was just a bad night?
Option two: egg on toast, or any other option that closely resembles breakfast for dinner. You could include bacon, baked beans, or a decent bowl of muesli. What’s good about this is everyone can get their own, or if there are small children involved, the effort of preparing breakfast is so much less than dinner. It’s doable even if you must do it for 4. I’ve always felt guilty about option two, which is ridiculous because it’s fresh food eaten at an alternative time of day. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Then there’s option three: simple food that takes less than half an hour to prepare. White bean chicken chilli soup is a case in point. This really is a pantry staple option. Tins of cannellini beans, chicken stock and chillies. You’ll need to pop to the supermarket to buy a roast (rotisserie) chicken from the deli section and a cob of corn, but that’s a small price to pay for the ease of preparation.
This recipe is from onceuponachef.com, a blog that I love to follow and one you should definitely check out. I’ve made a couple of changes because it’s difficult to find different varieties of green chillies in our local supermarket. Also, I like to use fresh corn rather than tins of corn kernels, but that’s because fresh corn tends to be readily available. If that’s not the case, then frozen or tinned are great substitutes.
The first step of the recipe is processing one tin of beans with a cup of stock. If you don’t have a food processor, don’t be put off. Get out your potato masher and simply mash the beans and then mix them with a cup of stock. It’s not going to be perfect, but it will work just fine. This is a soup, but you’ll find that any leftovers will thicken, just from being left. This will also happen if you plan ahead and make it early. If you don’t like the consistency, add a little water when you reheat it (but do it a little at a time).
This is not the prettiest soup, but it tastes delicious! And the best thing of all: cooking this soup is almost like having the night off. Enjoy!
- 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 green chillies, finely chopped (and deseeded if you want to reduce the heat)
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ancho chilli powder
- 1 store bought cooked chicken, skin removed and shredded
- 1 cob of corn, kernels removed
- ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, (more to taste if needed)
- sour cream
- lime wedges
- toasted tortillas
- In a food processor, blend 1 tin of beans with 1 cup of the chicken stock. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and green chilies and gently fry until soft.
- Add the garlic and fry for one minute more, stirring frequently to stop the garlic from burning.
- Add the cumin, coriander and chilli powder and cook, stirring frequently, for 1minute more to toast the spices.
- Add the chicken stock, puréed beans, corn kernels and ½ teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the shredded cooked chicken, the whole beans, coriander leaves and lime juice. Bring back to a simmer and cook until everything is heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and lime juice, if necessary.
- Serve the chili in individual bowls with a dollop of sour cream, lime wedges and toasted tortillas.