I adore this, is what you should know first. Everyone else adores this, is a very close second.
A million years ago when I started to like cooking but didn’t have a huge skillset yet, I watched A LOT of Food Network, which morphed into me watching Rachael Ray nearly daily, which was probably a strange thing to do at age 23 or something. I learned a ton, though, and often mimicked recipes I saw on her and other’s shows. This chicken chili was inspired by a talk show, is what you should know.
In the last ten years or so (why. how.), I’ve made versions of this chili over and over again, to great results and very few leftovers each time. The concept is simple: some kind of peppers that you roast yourself, chicken/garlic/onion, white beans, canned green chiles, stock, done. Sometimes I add lots of different types of peppers, sometimes an extra jalapeno or two. Sometimes I use leftover shredded chicken, sometimes I use ground, sometimes I poach and shred my own and use the poaching liquid instead of stock.
The end result is hugely flavorful each time, and the balance of flavors + nutrition is so satisfying here. Toppings are a must, as with any Mexican-inspired dish, and this should probably definitely be included in your weekend – this weekend if it’s cold, or in two weeks for Cinco de Mayo! OR OR OR you make a double batch now and freeze half for Cinco. Meal prep.
The main time consuming part of this recipe is roasting the peppers, which can be done way in advance. The peppers can be kept in the fridge for a few days or even in the freezer if you want to make a ton at once. I use poblano peppers and green bell pepper, but you can mix and match any other peppers that you like.
To roast the peppers, place them on a sheet pan and broil them for about 5 minutes on each side until very charred and wilted – timing will depend on how close your pan is to the broiler (mine was about 6 inches away), so keep an eye on them and let them get nice and blackened.
When the peppers are charred, place them in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap. When they are cool, remove the skin and seeds and chop them. Then, gather up the rest of the ingredients for the chili. Ground chicken, onion, garlic, cumin, canned chiles, white beans, and chicken stock. Definitely salt.
Start the chili in a large soup pot over medium-high heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and let it cook and brown slightly, breaking it up with a spoon as you go. When the chicken is cooked, add the onion, garlic, cumin, and a sprinkle of salt to the pot.
Stir the seasonings into the chicken for 3-5 minutes to soften the onion, then add the rest of the ingredients: all of the chiles, beans in their juices (this thickens the chili), and stock.
Stir the chili together and taste it; add several pinches of salt to your taste. This is a really mild chili, so feel free to add some more cumin or any kind of hot sauce you like to the pot. Let the chili simmer for a few minutes to thicken slightly, but really it’s ready to eat any time since the peppers were cooked in advance.
I’ve eaten this after 5 minutes before and after simmering it for 30 minutes, and it’s delicious no matter what. This is also a great dish to make ahead and let sit out for a few hours or in the fridge if you make it the day before; the flavors continue to marry and the chili gets better and better.
Toppings, obviously, are key to a dish like this. I like lime wedges and queso fresco, but any other kind of white cheese, cilantro, sliced jalapeno, or avocado are all delicious if you have them on hand.
Cheese quesadillas for dunking are NOT a bad thing either, clearly.
This is a great soup to have on hand for year-round, and especially delicious in these last few chilly days of Apruary. Enjoy!
- 1 green bell pepper
- 4 small poblano peppers
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 8 ounces canned green chiles (do not drain)
- 15 ounces canned white beans (do not drain)
- 3-4 cups chicken stock
- salt, as needed
Preheat the broiler to high. Arrange the bell pepper and poblano peppers whole on a baking sheet. Broil for about 5 minutes on each side, turning occasionally, until charred and blackened on the outside.
Remove the peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins and seeds/stems/ribs from the peppers. Chop the peppers and use for the chili.
When the peppers are roasted, make the chili. Preheat a soup pot to medium-high heat with the olive oil. When hot, add the chicken and cook, breaking up with a spoon as you go, for about 7 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and cumin with a sprinkle of salt. Stir to combine, and let the onion cook for about 3 minutes until soft.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: white beans and green chiles (not drained), roasted peppers, and stock. Stir to combine and taste; add several more pinches of salt to your preferences.
This chili is mild; feel free to add more cumin or some hot sauce if you'd like.
Let the chili simmer for 10-15 minutes, then serve with any toppings you like. Enjoy!