Thanksgiving Leftovers: White Chili with Roast Turkey or Chicken

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

I have no idea where or when white chicken chili was invented. I couldn't even tell you the first time I tried it. It was probably at home as a kid, and the recipe probably came from the Betty Crocker cookbook, or perhaps the Joy of Cooking.

Things I do know: the combination of tender chicken, white beans, and green chilies is a flavorful force to be reckoned with, one that's made all the more delicious when you swap out that wimpy chicken for some leftover turkey.

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird? He might have gotten away with it if more of our forefathers had been eating Turkey White Chili instead of Bald Eagle Pot Pie.

White chili starts with a mix of onions and peppers. I used a combination of jalapeños, poblanos, and roasted Hatch chilies that I have saved in my fridge. You can always use fresh roasted green chilies, or even canned green chilies if brevity is of the essence. Cumin, coriander, and chicken broth get added, along with some canned beans and their liquid. Many recipes call for draining and rinsing beans. I like to leave the starchy liquid in this stew to give it a bit of body and texture.

If you've got the roast turkey meat on hand, the whole dish comes together in about 15 minutes of real work, and is ready for the table in under an hour. It'll taste like it simmered all day.