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Do you ever look at your cupboards and realize that, for the most part, you live out of the first few inches? It gets scary to dig deeper because you never know what you will find. Long forgotten ingredients for something you thought you’d make, then forgot about, then lost the recipe for…

I knew I had two big cans of white beans back there somewhere, for a turkey chili recipe…that was in a book…. I realized I tossed recently. So I dug around on epicurious and came up with a recipe that I modified slightly (really, cooking is all about flexibility) to meet the ingredients I had on hand. And oh yum, on a crappy cold rainy day…this just hit the spot.

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Chicken and White Bean Chili

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chopped onions
1 large red or orange bell pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb ground turkey thigh meat, or chicken breast meat (I used a combination)
3 ½ tablespoons chili powder (I only had 2 Tbsp left so I added a tsp of ancho chili powder to kick up the heat)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 15- to 16-ounce cans white beans, drained
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice (I only had one so I added some tomato sauce from a half a leftover jar in the fridge)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (whoops, forgot to add that…I only had parsley anyway though so no matter)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until chicken is no longer pink outside, about 5 minutes.

Mix in chili powder, tomato paste, cumin, and oregano. Add beans, 1 cup reserved bean juices, and canned tomatoes.

Simmer until chicken is cooked through and chili is thickened, about 25 minutes.

Season chili to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix in cilantro (or parsley…or nothing) and serve.

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Warmed up and sniffling now.

Next challenge is three cans of pumpkin, three cans of evaporated milk (don’t really know how many pies I planned to bake at some distant point in the past!), and three cans of sweetened condensed milk.

Cheers!