White chilli is chilli made with white beans rather than red and chicken rather than beef. I've Frenchified this dish not so much for French tastes (although I think most of my French friends would like it) but with typical local ingredients like celeriac and leek, piment d'Espelette, and crème fraîche. The white beans are also widely used here, known by a variety of local dialect names such as lingots, mogettes and cocos. Farm raised outdoor chicken is also widely favoured here, with many ordinary home cooks prepared to pay a bit extra to get quality and avoid the industrially farmed product. Ingredients matter in France.
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
A green pepper (capsicum), seeded and diced
2 piments d'Espelette (a mild red chilli), seeded and finely chopped
Half a celeriac, peeled and diced
A large leek, cleaned and sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp salt
3 cups cooked white beans
3 skinless chicken breasts
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup crème fraîche
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
- Sweat the garlic, green pepper, piments d'Espelette, celeriac and leek for 5 minutes.
- Add the cumin, oregano, coriander, chilli powder and salt and stir around to mix with the veggies thoroughly.
- Put the beans on top, then the chicken.
- Pour over the stock and put the lid on.
- Bring to the boil then simmer for 40 minutes.
- Put aside to cool.
- Take the chicken out and shred, then replace in the pot along with the crème fraîche.
- Stir, reheat gently, serves 7 with spoonbread.
This dish is rather rich due to the crème fraîche, but it is also nicely spicy. The crème fraîche came from a local dairy farm that home delivers. She also supplies the EpiServices in Preuilly and Le Grand Pressigny, and the Intermarché supermarket in Yzeures sur Creuse. The beans were grown by my orchard neighbour and dried, shelled and cleaned by him. I soaked 500g of them for several hours then cooked them by bringing to the boil in plain water and simmering for 40 minutes. They were then frozen in batches, ready to use in dishes like this.
The celeriac, leek and piment d'Espelette came from my local organic market garden, Les Jardins Vergers de la Petite Rabaudière. They sell from the farm on Tuesday evenings and from the market in Preuilly every Thursday morning. Simon pickled a batch of piment d'Espelette in the autumn and I used a couple of those, but I would use fresh if they were in season. You could substitute any mild red chilli. The green pepper came from my corner grocery store in Preuilly.
The chicken breasts came from my local poultry producer, who sells at the market in Preuilly on Thursday mornings and Loches market Wednesday and Saturday mornings. I made the stock using chicken stock powder.