White Chicken Chili ala Cheesecake Factory

Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili

My husband had this chicken chili last spring at the Cheesecake Factory, and he asked me to figure out how to make it at home.  I immediately found the actual recipe at CookEatShare, but it's taken me a few months to get around to making it. The man really asks for very little, but when I saw the list of ingredients for this chili, I was very put off. Maybe it's because he handed me his disc golf winnings last night, telling me to spend it all on myself (which I did), but I decided to go ahead and gather the remaining ingredients today and make this for my loving husband. Actually, once I had all of the ingredients under my roof, it didn't take very long to throw it all together. I had a pretty big mess to clean up, but it was relatively quick to make and it was super delicious. To quote my husband, "Do you realize the perfection that IS this chili?" It's been so long since he had this at Cheesecake Factory, that we're not sure if it does actually taste like what you get at the restaurant, but Eddie says it doesn't matter. He raved and ate, and raved some more. 
At any rate, it's delicious. Quite spicy. Very meaty, and only a few beans (which makes me happy). It's a flavorful, filling meal that I highly recommend. I'll be making it again. For sure.
Oh, I halved the original recipe, and it was enough for our family of four with no leftovers. So if you think you'll want leftovers, double what you see below and use a dutch oven.
P.S. I froze some of my last batch about a month ago, and we just had it tonight. It tasted GREAT. I love it.

P.P.S. Gee, this post has a lot of little notes. I just wanted to say, that the last two times I made this chili, I used Better Batter Gluten Free Flour instead of wheat flour, and I have to say, I think I like this better. The chili comes out thicker with a silkier texture that I really enjoy. I don't end up with any little grease blobs like you see in the photo above when I use the Better Batter.

*Note: CookEatShare used to have a clip from the news segment that had an actual Cheesecake Factory chef preparing this recipe on TV. I can't find the original link now, but this recipe really is from the Cheesecake Factory. Here's the clip.

Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili Recipe
   --adapted from CookEatShare

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 pounds* cubed chicken breast meat or chicken tenders
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted poblano pepper**
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced green chilli pepper (I used a serrano***)
  • 1/3 cup flour (I recently used Better Batter Gluten Free Flour, and it worked great too)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons salsa verde
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili garlic paste 
  • 1/2 tablespoon chipotle Tobasco 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup white beans (from a can, or cooked)
  • pico de gallo (garnish)
  • white rice (garnish)
  • 3 green onions, sliced (garnish)
Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan or a dutch oven (dutch oven if you're doubling the recipe for sure) over medium heat.
Combine chicken and spices in mixing bowl.
Lightly brown the chicken, cooking until about 75% done.
Remove chicken and set aside.
Melt the butter in the pan, and sauté onions until translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the poblanos and green chilis.
Add the flour, stir to incorporate, and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock a little at a time, whisking to smooth out any lumps.
Add the salsa verde, chili garlic paste, and chipotle tabasco.
Allow to come back to a simmer over medium heat, and then add the chicken back into pan.
Simmer for 5 minutes and add the cream and white beans stir to incorporate.
Serve and with rice and garnish with pico de gallo and green onions.

Makes about 5 servings.

* The original recipe has been halved here, and it originally called for 4 pounds of chicken. That's actually too much. I go with 3 pounds of chicken for a double recipe and 1.5 pounds for the recipe above. You'll still have PLENTY of chicken in the chili.

**To roast the poblano, you do it over a gas burner on low-medium or a grill on high heat (that's what I did). If you don't have either of those options, I've heard you can do this in a cast iron skillet, but that's just one more pan you'll have to clean later. Put it directly on the grate and turn every now and then to evenly scorch it all over. Once it's bubbled and burned all over, you place it either in a zip top bag or seal tightly in aluminum foil (which is what I did). Let sit for about 15 minutes to steam. Then you peel off all the blackness, cut it open, scrape out the seeds, stem, and any "ribs" inside. Then chop. (I had to google this one.)

***For the green chili pepper, I really just went to the grocery store down the street, stood in front of the section of chiles in the produce section, and found a small pepper that said said "green chili" (turns out it was a serrano pepper--see Visual Guide to Peppers). Okay, actually, I looked "green chili pepper" up on google images first, and saw that they were on the small side, so I used one of those small, thin green peppers that's about 3-4 inches long. I put on some plastic gloves (food service type) and chopped off the top of the pepper, quartered it, scraped out the seeds and ribs, julienned, and diced it.

For more information about peppers, see this visual guide to peppers: Visual Guide to Peppers.