Montgomery Memories

I spent my fourth grade living in Montgomery, Alabama. At risk of offending any readers from there, it was really not my thing. California born, living previously in Denver, moving to Montgomery was a bit of a shock. I think of the combination of the humidity (where Denver had none), knowing I’d only be there ten months and bugs as big as your head, I couldn’t wait to leave. The accent was foreign to me (as I am sure mine was to them), the late 70’s still had undertones of inequality present (which I hadn’t experienced before) and one of our bikes was stolen. Again, not my favorite place.

Even the food was foreign to me. Now I would appreciate the new foods, but then I was not so open. Black eyed peas? Uh, no. Grits? Give me cereal. Collard greens? Not by a long shot.

When looking for a recipe to use up the white beans in my cabinet, I came across this unusual white bean chili. There it was. Tenth ingredient down on the list. Collard greens. FIVE CUPS of collard greens. Not having had them since I left Alabama, I knew it was time to try them again, but it took some personal effort.

The collard greens really make this a different kind of white chili than I’ve had in the past. It really has a healthier feel and taste.

My beans were cannellini beans and not the navy ones called for int he recipe, but I figured they were close enough.

My comfort grew when I started with sautéing the onions.

Add the diced chicken.

And the greens.

And the broth.

I put the lid on the pan to help them wilt a little more.

White-Bean Chili

Prep Time: 30 min | Cook Time: 42 min | Makes: 10 to 15 servings | Difficulty: Easy


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound collard greens, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green chiles (fresh or canned)
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 15-ounce cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Light sour cream, chopped tomatoes and/or lime wedges, for garnish (optional)


In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the chicken, cumin, oregano, white pepper and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is slightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the collard greens and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the chiles and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 20 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the beans and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro.

Transfer the chili to bowls and garnish with light sour cream, chopped tomatoes and/or lime wedges, if desired.

Per serving: Calories 245; Fat 7 g (Sat. 1.5 g; Mono. 3.4 g; Poly. 1.3 g); Cholesterol 38 mg; Sodium 755 mg; Carbohydrate 23.5 g; Fiber 8 g; Protein 22 g


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Chicken, chili, kosher, Low Carb, Recipes, Soup and Stew, vegetable3

Author:The Ranting Chef

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9 Comments on “Montgomery Memories”

  1. October 16, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    I also spent 10 months living in Montgomery. I’m from north Alabama and it was a culture shock for me; can’t imagine what it must have been like for you! This recipe sounds good, looking forward to trying it.


  2. ctminnesota
    October 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    That looks fantastic! It’s on my “must make” list. Thanks, chef.


  3. October 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    So glad I’m not the only person with an aversion to grits! Lol. Wet sand for breakfast, anyone?? 🙂


  4. Naomi
    October 16, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    I enjoyed reading this while on a business trip to Arkarsas and with colleagues from Alabama. Wonder what we’ll eat for dinner!


  5. October 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Wow, this looks like an incredible recipe. Thanks for sharing, thinking it’s going on my menu for next week.


  6. October 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    This chili looks really good. I’m looking forward to trying it. The only way I’ll eat grits is cooked in chicken or shrimp stock, loaded with cheese (preferably smoked gouda), and topped with shrimp.


  7. October 17, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    I’ve lived in Alabama all my life – I can definitely understand the issues with humidity and bugs! I’m native and it can be rough!


  8. alisitaliankitchen
    October 19, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Oh my husband love cannelli beans! Hi will be most jealous!



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