Who else has been craving comfort food lately? It’s been unseasonably warm, if windy, up here and yet my body still demands the wintry dishes it’s been missing. This nightshade free white chicken chili is a great case in point!
Don’t you just want to dive into that bowl with a spoon and not emerge ’til Spring?
I’ve been playing around lately with cashew cream as a base for exactly these types of comfort food dishes, the ones that give me that cosy vibe of winter while being light enough to remind me that Spring is coming soon.
(Like this Creamiest Turkey Stroganoff that uses leftover turkey from the holidays, but works just as well with pre-cooked & shredded or rotisserie chicken.)
Even with plenty of successful reintroductions behind me, I still don’t do well with anything other than super-rare occasions of dairy. So being able to experiment with cashew cream gives me a wonderfully satisfying way to add creaminess to dishes without coconut products, which can definitely overpower in the wrong place.
I still however wanted to make this nightshade free white chicken chili, which at first seemed like an exercise that was doomed to fail. Chili without chili?! But then I remembered my chile-less Roasted Green Onion Salsa Verde and Hearty & Homestyle Nightshade Free Chili successes & hit the kitchen to see what I could come up with.
Most of the flavors of traditional chicken chili recipes comes from the chicken itself, generous amounts of cumin and the creaminess of its broth. So that’s where I started.
The creamy chili base is whipped up easily in the blender while onion, garlic & green onions get softened on the stove. I brought the heady fragrance of cumin into the mix, along with oregano for body, coriander for its almost floral notes & two types of pepper that help to bring the right amount of tingle into every bite.
I made things even easier by using already shredded chicken, then finished everything off with a generous amount of lime juice for acidic balance & brightness. Skip the corn if you want to keep this Paleo. Otherwise, feel free to garnish with as many goodies as you like – I certainly did!Print
Nightshade Free White Chicken Chili
Creamy while ditching the usual dairy, this nightshade free white chicken chili has all the comfort food vibes of the original, without the heaviness!
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 - 6 / Makes about 8 Cups / 1920 ml 1x
- Category: weeknight, dinner, one pot meal
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Dairy free, nightshade free, gluten free, paleo
- 1 cup / 140 g raw, unsalted cashews, I like these
- 1 tbsp / 15 ml avocado oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 bunch green onions, about 8 or so
- 6 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 1 1/2 tbsp / 3 g dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp / 3 g ground cumin, I like this one
- 1 1/2 tsp / 8 g coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp / 1 g granulated garlic
- 1 tsp / 2 g ground coriander, I like this one
- 1/2 tsp white pepper, see notes, I like this one
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 4 cups / 960 ml chicken broth, divided
- 3/4 – 1 lb / 340 – 454 g cooked & shredded chicken
- 1 cup / 120 g frozen corn, optional, omit for Paleo
- 3 tbsp / 45 ml fresh lime juice
- handful fresh cilantro, chopped
- chopped avocado
- pumpkin seeds
- lime wedges
SOAK: Measure the cashews into the bottom of a blender pitcher and cover with just-boiled or very hot water. Leave to soak, with the lid on, while you start the white chicken chili base.
SOFTEN: Heat a dutch oven over low medium and add the avocado oil. When the oil is hot, add the diced yellow onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften but not brown, about 5 – 10 minutes or so. Finely slice the green onions & add the white & light green parts & crushed garlic to the dutch oven. Reserve the sliced green tops for serving later.
SIMMER: Cook for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant but not browning, then add the oregano, cumin, sea salt, granulated garlic (yes, I like to use both), coriander & both white and black pepper. Cook a minute or so, then add 3 cups / 720 milliliters of the chicken broth. Stir occasionally and gently bring the broth to a simmer while you make the cashew cream.
BLEND: Strain off and discard the water from the cashews, then return the drained cashews to the blender pitcher. Add 1/2 cup / 120 milliliters of very hot or just-boiled water and blend on high until thick, creamy & smooth. Add the remaining chicken broth 1/2 cup / 120 milliliters at a time, blending until smooth and creamy. The cashew mixture should look and pour like traditional dairy milk at this point, see notes.
HEAT: Stir the cashew cream through the broth-y white chicken chili base in the dutch oven a little at a time until it is smooth and glossy. Add the shredded chicken and bring the white chicken chili to a gentle simmer, then add the corn (if using) and lime juice. Cook until heated through and thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust lime juice & salt if needed.
SERVE: Ladle the white chicken chili into bowls and top with the reserved green onion tops, cilantro, avocado, pepitas and lime wedges to serve.
- AIP reintroductions in this recipe: cashews, cumin, coriander, pepper. Optional corn.
- Since there are no nightshades in this recipe, the two types of pepper give a little tingling heat with each bite. If you don’t have white pepper, don’t just replace it with black pepper, because that will likely be spectacularly overpowering! Start with 1/4 tsp of black pepper and add a little more at a time, tasting as you go until the spice level is right for you.
- If you have a very high powered blender like a Vitamix, you will not need to be quite so labored when making the cashew cream. You should be able to blend the drained cashews with all of the water & chicken broth at once, just process until creamy and smooth. My instructions here are aimed at people whose blenders aren’t as powerful, in which case using hot water and adding the broth a little at a time help ensure a smooth rather than gritty result.
- I usually boost the nutrition of this meal by adding in fresh or frozen greens straight to the pot, towards the end of the final simmering time. Be careful when adding things that will absorb lots of liquid, like cauliflower rice, as that can suck up all the liquid that makes this dish so silky in the first place. I find it best to serve the chili over anything starchy or liquid-hungry to keep it nice and luscious!