White Chicken Chili
A big helping of this healthy Southwestern chili is the epitome of comfort. Chicken pieces are simmered with spicy jalapeños, poblanos, and red onion, then shredded and added back to the pot for a deep, developed chicken flavor. Smashing some of the cannellini beans thickens the broth, and a squeeze of lime juice at the end balances the richness and heat with a bright kick. Crumble some homemade tortilla chips over a heaping bowlful for a crunchy addition.
Game plan: If you want to tone down the heat in this recipe, remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeños.
The chili can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated in a container with a tightfitting lid.
This dish was featured as part of our photo gallery of chili recipes.
Watch the CHOW Test Kitchen’s Amy Wisniewski make this simple white chili in an episode of our Easiest Way video series.
For the chili:
- 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, thighs, or a mixture of both
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 medium jalapeños, stemmed and finely chopped
- 2 medium poblano chiles, stemmed and medium dice
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and medium dice
- 1 medium red onion, medium dice
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 4 cups (1 quart) chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 medium limes)
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 3 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 medium scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
1Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season generously all over with salt and pepper; set aside.
2Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until it’s browned all over, about 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.
3Reduce the heat to medium. Add the jalapeños, poblanos, bell pepper, and onion to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, scraping up any browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pot and stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
4Add the garlic, cumin, measured salt, and chili powder, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5Add the stock or broth and beans and stir to combine. Return the chicken pieces and any accumulated juices to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, turning the chicken halfway through, about 40 to 50 minutes total. Turn off the heat.
6Remove the chicken to a cutting board. When it’s cool enough to handle, remove the meat and set it aside (discard the skin and bones).
7Using a potato masher, lightly mash about half of the beans and vegetables, leaving the remaining half intact. Stir in the shredded chicken and lime juice. Serve with the cheese, cilantro, and scallions on the side.
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