Monday, January 17, 2011

White Bean Chicken Chili

I love any kind of chili, and this one is very easy and more healthy than most. I know that Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, so I figure some of you might be interested in a good, easy to make meal for the game.  I was going to post this as "Lowfat white bean chicken chili", but I didn't want to turn anyone off of it!  It is an almost no-fat chili that is so lean and good for you. I made a crockpot full and it's entirely gone after feeding my husband and I, and three roving teenage boys.

After years of trying to cook dry beans without success, I finally found a foolproof way to cook them in the crockpot.  You can use canned beans, they are super convenient, but they do cost about 3-4 times more than using the dry beans, so why not give this a try.  You can cook any kind of beans like this in a crockpot.

1 1-lb bag of small white beans, great northern are good
1 16oz. chunky green salsa
8 cups of water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 6oz. can of diced green chilies
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
1 Anaheim chili, minced (optional)
1 Tbsp chicken bouillon paste, or 2 cubes
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp cumin
Juice of one lime
Salt to taste, but probably about 1-2 Tbsp
2-4 cups of chicken, cooked and chopped.
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Plan ahead - You need to start this recipe about 6 hours before you want to serve your chili.

Add the dry beans to your crockpot, add the 8 cups of water, the jar of salsa and the chopped onion.  Cover and cook on high for about 4-5 hours, testing a bean to see if they are cooked enough.  Add the garlic, minced chilies, lime juice, the seasoning and the chicken and let it cook another 45-60 minutes.  If the chili seems too watery at this point and you want it to be thicker, you can chop up some corn tortillas and add to the last hour of cooking.  These tortillas break down entirely and will add some thickness and flavor. Add the cilantro right before you serve it, so you you get a bit of nice bright green to add a little zip to your bowl. This is great served with corn bread, or tortilla chips.  You could add grated cheese and sour cream, if you wanted to make it richer.

Chicken Note:
I've used a rotisserie roasted chicken for the meat in this recipe, it makes it very easy and I love to be able to make chicken stock out of the chicken bones.  The roasted bones from the rotisserie chicken make an excellent stock.  Just throw the bones into a stock pot, cover with water and add a couple carrots, celery stalks and a onion, quartered, skins an all.  Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook for about 2 hours.  Let it cool and strain.  Refrigerate and use within the week.  It makes the best soup...

Side Dish Inspirations
This a main course kind of meal, but here are some ideas to serve with the chili:
  • Cornbread
  • Green Salad
  • Tortilla chips... you could even serve this as a dip with your chips.
Round Two cooking… make more and use it for:
If you plan it right, you could make some extras for another meal. 
Here's some ideas:
  • This freezes very well, so if you have enough leftovers, freeze for another meal. Otherwise, use for lunches.  

What else would this technique work on???
You could easily use this technique on:
  • Pork instead of chicken, you could add cubed raw pork and cook it alongside the beans,
  • Black beans with beef is nice, and you could add canned tomatoes instead of the salsa. I'd also add chili powder too.
  • Vegetarian chili, omit the chicken and the bouillon and add chopped carrots, bell peppers and other veggies.  Beans make a complete protein when combined with rice, so if you're worried about getting enough protein, add the rice. 


  1. Making this today; you must have a bigger crock pot than us because I had to pull out some beans and liquid in order to add the chicken! Smelling great though...

  2. My crockpot is a 5 quart size. I've had this happen one time to me as well, the beans seemed to keep swelling more than usual, either that or there was more than 16 oz of beans in there! I scooped out about half the extra beans, and had 'half done chili' to put in the freezer.