22 October 2012

White & Green Chicken Chili

Chili is one of my all time favorite bowl-meals.  Sure, you can serve it up with a side if you really want, but no need.  Vegetables, protein, fiber and carbs are all just a few ladles away.

This is a recipe that the hubs has been waiting months for me to make.  As wonderful as chili is, it is simply not appetizing in the summer heat.  But the weather has turned, the seasons have changed and the beans have come out to play.

Now chili can come in many, many varieties.  Black bean and turkey is one of our all time favorites.  You can go classy with navy beans and lamb, or dress it down with some pre-made Hormel.  But the supermodel of the chili world is white bean and chicken chili.  Rather than the mod podge of colors, you have a simple neutral canvas, with a mixture of textures and little splashes of color.  Here, we're painting with green in the form of green chiles and cilantro.  My favorite color extends to food so deliciously.

So pretty.  And yummy.

I'm sure that you noticed my name predicament.  Green chile chili was just a little far fetched for me. But honestly, it's the big flavor star of the dish.  Canned green chiles add a lovely touch of spice and hint of smoke...just dress the dish up without becoming overbearing.  As the dish cooks, their flavor permeates the chicken, broth and especially the beans, giving them a wonderful mild spice that is delightful.  If you have time to roast your own green chiles, the result will be an even smokier, fresher flavor than the canned.

Now the thing that sets this apart from your standard chicken chili is the cilantro sour cream.  To me, it makes the dish.  The cilantro provides a bright freshness to the dish while the sour cream adds a lovely, creamy tang.  When stirred in, it finishes the broth perfectly and rounds everything out in a delightful way.  This, plus a side of homemade corn bread, makes for a very happy hubby.

And, as always the case with chili, it's even better the second day.  It reheats perfectly in a mug at work, but will draw a lot of dirty looks your way (lunch envy).  Try stirring in a cup of spinach after reheating and letting it wilt for a few minutes for an extra little punch of veggies in your lunch.

White & Green Chicken Chili (6-8 servings)
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 2 lb chicken breast, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper (we used 1 tsp for a bit more of a kick)
  • 1 tsp green hot sauce (optional...also, a kick)
  • 32 oz chicken broth 
  • 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (Great Northern, Kidney or Cannellini)
  • 7 oz green chiles (1 can)
  • 1/2 c packed cilantro leaves
  • 6-8 tbs fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
Place a 4 quart dutch oven (or a 27 Le Creuset) over medium heat and add the olive oil.  When hot, add the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes, until just soft.  Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  

While the onion in cooking, dice your chicken breast.  Add to the onion garlic mixture and cook for about 8-10 minutes, turning chicken every few minutes, until the chicken is browned on all sides.  Stir in the cumin, white pepper and hot sauce if desired.  Add the chicken broth, green chilis, and both cans of beans.  Crank the heat up to high and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.  (This will be slightly higher than a soup simmer on your burner dial).  Let simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  

To make the cilantro sour cream, begin by finely chopping the cilantro.  Transfer to a small bowl and add the sour cream and lime juice.  Mix together well.  Top each bowl of chili with a tablespoon or so of the sour cream.  Garnish with tortilla strips or corn bread croutons.  Awesome with spinach!


  1. When are the beans and chiles added, and how long do you let it simmer after it comes to a boil?

    1. Recipe updated! Add the beans at the same time as the broth, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Thanks for the feedback :)