The light color of this Chipotle Chicken Chili belies its full-bodied flavor and intense smoky heat from the addition of chipotle chilies. Tender Cannellini beans add some hearty bulk to the chili without getting in the way of the ample chicken.
As a kid, when I heard the word “chili” it brought up images of brown chunky mush that looked (and smelled) like something you would feed a furry four legged companion. Between the gas inducing kidney bean “chili” that came out of the kitchen at home and the cans of Hormel that friends would warm up during sleepovers, I vowed never to take another bite of the foul stuff again.
Somewhere between midterms and shots of cheap tequila in college I discovered that “chili” didn’t mean “beans” in Spanish, and that when done right, it could be awesome. Like this Chile Verde, which is to this day one of my all time favorite dishes.
As I was gazing into the cupboard looking for dinner a few years back, all I saw staring back at me was a can of chipotle chilis, a can of cannellini beans, and a few dust bunnies in the dark reaches of my pantry. While I’d outgrown my chili aversion of yore, the thought of making chili with beans still made me cringe.
Limited by what my pantry had to offer, and too lazy to take the subway up to Union Square (yes, this was before we had a Whole Foods in Tribeca) I decided to make do with what I had, and the resulting chicken chili became the fourth post on this blog. It was simple, wholesome, and surprisingly good. The recipe has gone through a couple iterations, but it’s still one that I come back to when my pantry thins out like a head of aging hair.
This chicken chili is lighter than one made with beef, and yet the spicy, smokey chipotles pack a wallop of flavor. Best of all, it warms you up and fills your belly on a cold winter day; the kind of grey miserable day when you look out the window and wonder if the heavens have caught a cold.
Serve this with some pickled jalapeños, and if you have leftovers, toss them with some pasta and cheese for something different the next day.
[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Chipotle Chicken Chili – – olive oil, onions (diced), celery (diced), Poblano chile (seeds removed and diced), garlic (minced), ginger – fresh (minced), bay leaf, ground cumin, ground coriander seed, ground cinnamon, chicken – ground (ground turkey also works), chipotle chiles – canned (minced), adobo sauce from chipotles, chicken stock (low sodium), cannellini beans – canned (drained and rinsed), Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil, onions, celery, Poblano, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. Sautee until the onions are tender and translucent (about 15-20 minutes).; Move the onions to the side and add the ground chicken. Press it down flat, and use a spatula to break it up into large chunks. Continue sautéing until the chicken is cooked. ; Add the chipotles, adobo sauce, chicken stock, and cannellini beans. Let the chili simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until it’s thick (about 1 hour). Taste and add salt as needed. Serve garnished with cheese and cilantro. ; – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions (diced)
- 1 rib celery (diced)
- 1 fresh Poblano chile (seeds removed and diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (minced)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 450 grams ground chicken (ground turkey also works)
- 2 canned chipotle chiles (minced)
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotles
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock (low sodium)
- 450 grams canned cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
- Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil, onions, celery, Poblano, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. Sautee until the onions are tender and translucent (about 15-20 minutes).
- Move the onions to the side and add the ground chicken. Press it down flat, and use a spatula to break it up into large chunks. Continue sautéing until the chicken is cooked.
- Add the chipotles, adobo sauce, chicken stock, and cannellini beans. Let the chili simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until it's thick (about 1 hour). Taste and add salt as needed. Serve garnished with cheese and cilantro.