White Chicken Chili Recipe

A couple friends on Facebook requested my recipe for white chicken tomatillo chili, so here it is. I completely improvised this the first time and I don’t really measure things, but this is pretty close. Here are the basic ingredients: chicken breast, tomatilloes, cilantro, garlic, chili peppers, red onion, and a mix of beans.

I typically use about 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which is 2-3 pounds. Cut them into bite size pieces and brown them in a dutch oven or soup pot of some sort, along with one large diced red onion. While that’s cooking, take about 10 tomatilloes, peel and wash them, then quarter them and put them in a food processor. Add in two or three chili peppers, and here you can adjust the heat of the dish. I can’t handle too much heat, so I just use a couple of poblanos and maybe an anaheim pepper, but you can of course use jalapenos, serranos or even habaneros if you like it really hot. Also put in 5 or 6 cloves of garlic and a handful of cilantro. Mix until it’s a salsa-like consistency and add to the pot with the chicken.

I then add several kinds of beans (precooked, out of a can) to the pot, usually great northern beans, butter beans and pintos, but you can use any kind you want. Add in chicken broth or stock until you’ve got it the right consistency. Then season with a teaspoon or so of ground cumin, black pepper, salt to taste, and let it simmer until it’s ready (doesn’t take long, but the longer you let it go the better it will be). You’ll love it. The tomatilloes give it a tangy base that is very unusual for a chili and it’s balanced nicely by a bit of heat from the peppers.

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  • Michael Heath

    Tomatillos just became available in my neck of the woods; where ‘woods’ is literal, not figurative and the reason such products are late to arrive. So I’ll be sure and try this.

    I was introduced to habaneros at a Brazilian steak house in the late-1990s. They presented them whole on a cutting board and given I like eating jalapenos raw I took a bite out of a whole one. My mouth was burning pretty bad for about 15 minutes. That experience also led to my introduction to the Scoville Scale. I limit myself to serranos which I use in a vinegar-based mopping sauce when I grill chicken.

  • Jordan Genso

    Each year I like to expand my culinary skills to a new family of items (2011 was homemade ice creams). A couple weeks ago I decided that 2012 is going to be soups, but I think I’ll expand it out to include chili as well and give this a try. It looks like a good ingredient list to me.

  • This looks really good, I’m going to try a crock-pot variation on it. Nothing like chili cooking all day in the crock-pot.

    What kind of sides do you usually serve with it?

  • @Kaessa, if you’re going to go slow cooker style, I’d reccomend chicken thighs rather than breasts. Long cooking will dry out breasts.

  • @Lou, good call on that. Thighs usually have a better flavor for slow cooking, too.

  • walton

    Sounds nice, except I’d use tofu or another appropriate veggie substitute rather than chicken.

    (Chickens are our friends. We don’t eat our friends.)

  • organon

    Thanks for posting it.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  • “Chickens are our friends.”

    Speak for yourself, Walton. Last chicken I ran into rolled me for 50$. I still can’t figure out how he held the gun with those wings.

    So if one of your friends is white and short with a sharpened beak and two teardrops tattooed under his left eye, let him know it’s on. No bird is going to make me do the nasty things he forced me to and get away with it. Well, if he was an eagle, a hawk, or even an owl I may let it go. But not a chicken.

    Tell him he’s chili!

  • Akira MacKenzie

    If you use canned beans, do you drain them or use the liquid as well?

  • Sounds good, Ed. I think I’d like to try it with skwerl.

  • catdog

    > (Chickens are our friends. We don’t eat our friends.)

    I do. The endorphins make the meat lovlely and tender.


  • I always drain the canned beans.

  • exocrat

    This chili sounded good and we were trying to think of something to make anyway so we slapped it together and it’s simmering now. Smells amazing. We pureed two cans of beans with some stock to thicken the base. Can’t wait to eat!