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Spicy Chicken & White Bean Chili

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Serves four.

Puréeing some of the beans along with the canned tomatoes in this recipe gives the dish a thick texture and a rich, slow-cooked feel. Chipotle chiles are available canned with adobo sauce in many supermarkets and specialty food markets.

  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in a medium dice
  • 1 large white onion, finely diced
  • Juice of 2 limes, about 6 Tbs.
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 chipotles, plus 2 Tbs. adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless, skiness chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat, or 3-1/2 cups shredded store-roasted chicken
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup lager beer, such as Corona
  • Sour cream, for garnish (optional)

Toss the avocado, about one-quarter of the onion, 2-1/2 Tbs. of the lime juice, and 2 Tbs. of the cilantro in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a food processor, combine 1 cup of the beans, the tomatoes and their juice, the chipotles, and adobo sauce and process until smooth. Set aside.

Season the chicken with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or casserole over medium-high heat until it's shimmering hot. Add the chicken (the thighs should just fit, evenly spaced) and sear without touching until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until also golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and let rest for 10 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat and set aside. When the chicken has rested, shred it by hand or chop it coarsely.

Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the remaining onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin and stir for 20 seconds. Add the beer and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate any browned bits, until it almost completely reduces, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining white beans and the puréed bean mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken along with any accumulated juices on the bottom of the plate. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes so the chicken finishes cooking and the flavors mix and meld. Stir in 1-1/4 cup of the cilantro and the remaining lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into large bowls and serve immediately with a generous spoonful of the avocado mixture, a dollop of sour cream (if using), and a sprinkling of the remaining cilantro.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Mexican rice or cornbread.

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was amazing and is a new staple, it would be just as yummy with a rotisserie chicken, I think the chicken thigh was a messy, time consuming addition that doesn't enhance it anymore than rotisserie chicken would. LOVE this though.

Excellent. The avocado topping made this meal.

Spicy indeed! I only used half of the chili powder and it still had a ton of heat. Easy to make & great flavors. Will definitely make again but maybe only add 1 teaspoon of the chili powder.

Great Chili! I will definitely make it again! I followed recipe, but used an amber beer because that's what I had. I also thinned it about a bit with a little chicken stock to the consistency that I like. The avocado mixture really added to the dish!

I made this for the first time last night and it was wonderful! I doubled the recipe (seems like everyone was sad about the lack of leftovers) and added corn and green bell peppers which brightened it up and balanced the heat perfectly.

I love this recipe. Have made it several times but today I was out of beer so used 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee. Cant taste the coffee but it did add a nice dark richness and saved calories and carbs.

My family LOVES this chili. I am not a fan of red chili, my daughter will not eat beef and my husband loves chili of any sort so this is a big hit in our home. The avocado mix is delicious and adds a wonderful contrast, however, if I don't have an avocado the chili itself is satisfying. We love to serve this with a pepper-cheddar bread that I've been making for years. This is a tailgate and fall festival favorite in our home.

I was surprised how delicious this was, for such a simple, quick recipe. My usual chili recipe takes quite a few more steps and more time. This was wonderful! As another reviewer suggested, I used a dark beer, rather than light. I also like some veg in my chili, so along with the onion, I added chopped carrot and celery. Some chicken stock thinned it out to my preferred consistency, and I didn't process all the tomatoes, just a bit, leaving most in chunks. Excellent!

This is delicious, super easy and freezes well! As with any chili, feel free to modify. I go easy on the adobo sauce as is too spicy according to recipe. I also prefer a sweet onion (Vidalia) to balance some of the heat. I like to use a bbq rotisserie chicken since I'm usually short on time. I highly recommend this one!

This is the best chili recipe I have tried and I have made it again and again. I made it initially using a light beer as recommended and I wasn't hugely impressed. I have since made it with a dark or amber ale, Sam Adams winter ale is a great choice, and the difference is amazing, the dark beer adds huge depth to the flavor of the finished dish. I also poach bone in chicken breasts and shred the meat to add to the chili. I have found these two changes to the recipe result in an amazing chili!

This is my absolute favorite chicken chili recipe. I've made it at least half a dozen times. It is a pretty thick and hearty chili, so I've started adding a can of chicken broth to thin it a little and like to use fire roasted tomatoes. I love the chipotle, but its easy to overdo, so if I'm in the mood for a little extra heat, I throw in some red pepper flakes. The lime and cilantro added at the end give it such a fresh flavor (I think I end up adding more than the recipe calls for). Sometimes I'll also put some monterey jack or pepper jack cheese on top and serve tortilla chips on the side. I love the contrast of the heat (both literal and spicy heat) of the chili and the cool, creamy avocado mash so I make extra avocado! Its great to find a recipe that you make at home, that reheats well through the week, and that is better than what you'll find in any restaurant!

Everyone loved this chili. Not very much left over, but we reheated and served with eggs in the morning. I changed a couple of things to add a little more layer of heat...cooking the chicken in the citrus herb marinade (Best of Fine Cooking Weekend Cooking pg. 57). I also added a clove of garlic and smoked paprika to the onion.

This chili was a little plain as far as the ingredients are concerned but the flavor was complex. I don't really care for the smoky flavor of the adobo sauce but just added less. The combination of the chili and the avocado mixture was excellent, so make sure you add a generous helping of the avocado. We didn't use sour cream. I made this for my family, and was not sure the 3 teenage boys would care for it, but they ate all there was and complained that there wasn't more.

This is a great chili. The chipoltle peppers give it a very distict taste with a little heat. I make this recipe and freeze it for lunches. I don't use the advocado on top I garnish with sour cream, cilantro and some grated cheese.

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