The first meal I cooked for my parents is forever etched in my memory like words on a locket. A novice at cooking in my younger years, I probably should have begun with something simple like Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup; however, I chose beef stew. Gathering all the ingredients, I chop, cut and cook. The recipe calls for a clove of garlic. For the first time ever, I purchase garlic. Fast forward a few hours later when we are seated around the table preparing to sip our stew. Mom lifts her spoon out of the bowl and looks stunned at the contents.
“Ummm, how much garlic did you put in this stew?” she asks.
“A clove. That’s what the recipe asked for,” I respond.
“But you put the whole thing in!”
“Well, that’s what it asked for,” I repeat, not grasping her meaning.
She proceeds to explain the difference between a clove and cloves of garlic and that one should actually peel the outer layer off a clove, chop or mince it and then add it to the recipe. Well, excuse me. How was I to know the finer details of handling garlic? I missed Cooking 101 because my nose was planted in school books not recipe books. Besides, I don’t recall my mother using garlic at all, ever. Maybe she did, but I occupied myself with boys and books, not necessarily in that order.
Fortunately, I’ve learned a bit about garlic and love to use a lot of it, properly! White Chili recipes are as plentiful as sand on a beach, but our family loves this one particularly. Because the slow cooker makes meal preparing easy, I use it as often as possible. It certainly eliminates the hurry and scurry of trying to prepare a meal in between nightly activities and sports. Just a little effort in the morning and 6 hours later, a tasty dish is ready to eat!
2 lbs. boneless chicken, chopped
2 medium onions
1 large can chicken broth
8 oz. chopped green chilies
3 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 48-oz. jar Great Northern beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. cumin
1 t. oregano or Italian Spice mix
¼ t. ground cloves
¼ t. cayenne (optional)
Sauté chicken, onion, spices and garlic in butter until chicken is done. Combine all ingredients, except cheese. Simmer on low 6-8 hours; a crock pot will work well. Stir in cheese to melt just before serving.