Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lavendar & White Bean Chicken Chili

Lavendar & White Bean Chicken Chili (credit Shipley)
The Blizzard of '13 came upon Providence with full force.  With satellite pictures showing hurricane-like storm characteristics there was only one thing to do - eat!

Last summer, on a trip through Eastern Long Island's wine country, I stopped into Lavendar By The Bay because Abby, a friend of mine, had offered me some fresh lavendar from her garden, and I was looking for ways to use it.

There I found "The Lavendar Cookbook" by Sharon Shipley, which contains the recipe for this magnificent chili.  She lauds it to be a great "Superbowl chili" and I thought that's exactly what I would do.  Well, since I greeted the Superbowl with a nice head cold, I had to bail on the idea.  This weekend though, I got my second chance.

Out of a sense of fairness and professional courtesy, I cannot in good conscience replicate the recipe here without the consent of it's author.  However, it seems Ok to share the general process, and encourage you to obtain a copy for yourself (I'm excited to try more of it's contents soon!):

Shipley calls for 1 lb of great northern beans, soaked overnight, and 2 lbs of white meat cooked in advance and making a broth (I used thigh meat.)  The "chili proper" is made by simmering 1 lb of ground chicken with chopped onion until the onion is cooked translucent, and then adding minced garlic, jalapeño, cumin, lavendar, oregano, marjoram, savory and cayenne.  To this, you drain & add the beans and the broth (from cooking the chicken - dice & reserve the meat for later.)  Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hrs or until the beans are very tender.  Finish by adding a cup of shredded white cheddar (I used Cabot sharp white, from VT) and the reserved diced chicken meat, along with salt & pepper to taste.  Stir this until the cheese is melted & combined.  Shipley suggests serving with sour cream, salsa, cilantro, and additional shredded cheese - which I gladly did!

For salsa, I chose a local RI product by Poblano Farm - their hand made Habanero Salsa, for it's pineapple-citrus undertone and great spice that I thought would compliment this chili chili without overpowering it's flavor while still imparting a solid, "chili-kick" (I think it was the perfect choice!)

I paired the meal with Blue Moon, again for a beer that I felt would bring additional, complimentary flavor to the palette without competing for sensory attention - and I thought the Belgian White (my first) did just that, nicely.

Finally, I'd like to credit the pottery... the crock you see pictured is a NEOSHO Mailsart original, hand crafted by my cousin Denise - artiste and chef-extraordinaire in her own right.

In close, I hope this entry inspires you to expand your own culinary horizons, as my friend Abby's offer of fresh lavendar did for me, by sending me on the trek that ended in a blizzard-taming chili!

Ah Salut and please remember - to know good food, is to be close to God.

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