Cheryl’s Chicken Chili
Cheryl, Cheryl, Cheryl! How do I describe the bundle of joy? Well that’s precisely it– she’s a bundle of joy. Cheryl is warm, she’s funny and well she’s the ultimate girl’s girl. Cheryl is the mother of my homie for life, Meredith. When I moved here from Jamaica Meredith and her family were an instrumental part of my adjustment into American life. Not only that, but the lovable family exposed me to good hearty American food. I emphasize “good” because I had a few early experiences where the food was so bland that I then inaccurately assumed this the standard for all American food.
Cheryl and her clan introduced me to the likes of steak and potatoes, kabobs, buffalo wings and chili. Over the years I’ve been treated to a plethora of delicious eats. Eating in Cheryl’s kitchen parallels to a visit to the finest five star restaurant. She and the whole family cater to your every need. Are you warm; or is it too cold? Would you like water, juice, wine (her favorite), beer, a liquor drink? I made snacks. Yasssss, that homemade dip again! Dinner will be ready in such and such minutes. What would you like on your salad? I was thinking of doing an al la mode for dessert. That sounds perfect! A la hell yeah– it hits the spot every time. You get the picture–hospitality at it’s best. They all make me feel well taken care of and loved. It’s like I’m family, come to think of it, I am family.
A recent dish that was a standout at their Halloween bash was Cheryl’s white chicken chili. They do it big for Halloween. Well they really do it big for every holiday but Halloween is an especially lavishly done event. A realistic haunted house in the garage, a plethora of candy that would have Willy Wonka envious, booze–a gigantic thing of vodka cranberry, delicious food, people running around laughing, and a child running around crying (the haunted house is that good). By night’s end when the crowd dissipated we settled for a game of beer pong on the deck– Cheryl belting cheerful words of encouragement—“you’re my, you’re my girl.” Ha, I know, I know—she’s so encouraging and like I said always the best to be around. When I arrived home that night her white chicken chili was freshly etched in my mind—I couldn’t stop thinking about how good it was. While this isn’t the exact chili made on Halloween this white chicken chili is similar to the one made that night.
The Recipe [Prep time: 35 mins from start to finish]
1 lb ground chicken
1 medium chopped onion
2 teaspoons of finely chopped garlic
2 cups of Progresso (32-oz carton)
11/2 teaspoon ground oregano leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
2 cans of (15 oz each) of cannellini beans or 2 cans (15 to 16oz each) of great northern beans
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
½ cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
*note that you can improvise and add and subtract ingredients as you please
When you think of chili you think of the perfect broth to satisfy on a cold winter’s night. The country had been experiencing below freezing temperatures in a lot of places and this part of Georgia wasn’t an exception. The dish was perfect especially on such a night. I garnished my chili with fritos chips and oyster crackers seen in the picture above. I was immediately hit by the spices and the aromas of the dish. The green chili and cayenne pepper added a needed kick to the broth. It was spicy but not overly spicy. The food was perfect ball game grub as we watched FSU unfortunately beat Auburn for the national championship. Such is life! All and all the dish was simply “magnifique.” You can always count on Cheryl to cook the most delicious food– not only is her food the best but she is arguable one of the best cooks north of the ATL.