Place chicken, 5 cups water, and half of onion in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and cook 15 to 18 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken, reserving broth in Dutch oven. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces; set aside.
Melt butter in a skillet; add celery and remaining onion, and sauté until tender.
Stir chicken, celery mixture, 2 cans beans, and next 6 ingredients into broth in Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 1 hour, stirring frequently, until thickened.
Process remaining 1 can beans in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Stir bean pureé into chili.
Remove and discard bay leaf; stir in cilantro just before serving with desired toppings.
Have been making this for several years, and my entire family (even the pickiest eater) loves it. I like to top it with a spoonful of salsa or pico de gallo, and shredded pepper jack cheese. Freezes well. Definitely a go-to recipe,
Great recipe! My husband has acid reflux issues so he can't eat the more common tomato based chili. This recipe has been a great find. We all enjoy it and my husband doesn't suffer any bad effects. As CurlyHairDay mentioned, "it is delicious and deceptively simple."
Best white chicken chili recipe I have tried! And after it sat overnight in the fridge, the flavors were even better the next day! I brought leftovers for lunch the next day, and literally had to shoo my co-workers away from my bowl, since they kept trying to smell it! Leftovers freeze well, also.