White Chicken Chili

Florida weather is so tricky. One week it’s sweltering; the next it’s chilly. For example, I was wearing shorts on Christmas Eve as I walked the block, passing out cookies to neighbors. Four days later, and it’s supposed to be in the thirties tonight.

At least this cooler weather gives me a chance to make heartier food – like this white chili. Most of the chiles are of the mild variety, which gives the chili lots of flavor without too much heat. And processing some of the beans thickens the chili nicely. I like serving this with cornbread, or a side of rice.

from Cook’s Illustrated
January 2007

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili


3 lbs bone-in chicken breast halves, trimmed of excess fat and skin
1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 medium jalepeno chiles
3 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut into large pieces
3 Anaheim chile peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
2 medium onions, cut into large pieces
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 c low-sodium chicken broth
3 Tbs fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
1/4 c fresh minced cilantro
4 green onions, white and light green parts sliced thin


  1. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until skin is golden grown, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and lightly brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; remove and discard skin.
  2. While chicken is browning, remove and discard ribs and seeds from 1 jalepeno. Mince the flesh. In a food processor, process half of the poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions until the consistency of chunky salsa - about 10 pulses. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Repeat with remaining poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions. Combine with the first batch.
  3. Pour off all but 1 Tbs of fat from the Dutch oven and reduce heat to medium. Add minced jalepeno, chile-onion mixture, garlic, cumin, coriande,r and 1/4 tsp salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  4. Transfer 1 cup cooked vegetable mixture to the food processor. Add 1 c beans and 1 c of broth and process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add vegetable-bean mixture, remaining 2 c of broth, and chicken breasts to Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken registers to 160 degrees, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a large plate. Stir in remaining beans and continue simmer, uncovered, until beans are heated through and chili has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
  6. Mince remaining jalepeno, reserving ribs and seeds, and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces, disrading bones. Stir shredded chicken, lime juice, cilantro, scallions, and remaining minced jalepeno into chili and return to simmer. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Adjust heat by adding in some ribs and seeds.


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Sweet Comments:

  1. This sounds great! I like white chili. And, I very much like the idea of pureeing some of the beans to thicken the stew. I shall bookmark!

  2. I made this recipe before – its so good. People thought I used tomatillos – but it just b/c of all of the peppers that the soup was green.

  3. I love the sound of this Chili is it really hot spicey wise? Not to familiar with some of the peppers, I like mild to medium hot foods. And your right living here in Florida is really a roller coaster with weather its 39 here today in Orlando. Hate cold weather, but it looks pretty in pictures and on tv…lol thanks for sharing

  4. @pegasuslegend – the Anaheim and poblano chiles are very mild. It’s the jalepeno that will determine the heat. The original recipe called for 3 jalepenos, and I usually use only 2. I would say that it’s mild to medium on the heat index with the number of chiles listed.

  5. This chili would be so comforting where I live due to the rain and wind right now! Looks and sounds delicious.

  6. That chili is looking really good!

  7. I just made this, roasting the peppers under the broiler and removing the skins to add some extra flavor. The resulting color wasn’t as pretty as yours but it has a layer of smokiness that is a nice addition.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just so you know, I have been making this for over a year now and it is my families hands down favorite soup !! Thank you.
    D. Galla-Rini
    So. California

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Sounds good! Will this recipe serve 6? Or?

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