White Chicken Chile Recipe


This is the chili recipe that I made for the teacher lunch at the Academy for Arts, Sciences and Technology yesterday. Everyone was very appreciative and they have requested the recipe. Of course, I made enough to fill two crock pots, so I will have to try to pare it down. I should also warn everyone that I rarely, if ever, follow a recipe! SO here goes…. This recipe is based on a recipe that I found at the Williams-Sonoma website (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/white-chili.html).

When making enough chili for a crowd, the easiest way to cook the chicken is in a crock pot. In this case, I took frozen legs (2), thighs (8), and breasts (many!) out of my freezer and put them straight in my crock pot with about 4-6 cups of water (I eyeballed it) and cooked them on high for about 4-5 hours. After that, I removed the chicken from the crock pot to a baking sheet to cool and reserved the broth for later (you can remove the fat from the broth at this point or after it’s been refrigerated long enough for the fat to solidify on the top). The beauty of this recipe, though, is that you can use any chicken you have on hand. I have made this with leftover chicken or by poaching 2-3 chicken breasts in water and then adding them to the chili. I suppose you could even use one of the grocery rotisserie chickens that are so easy to come by these days.

This recipe doubles well. When I make it for my family, I double it and add one can each of the Zesty Jalapeño and Chipotle Chile Diced Tomatoes. With regard to the amount of beans I use, it depends on my mood, sometime I use more (4 cans), sometimes less (3 cans). The most important part of this recipe, I think, is the herbs and spices. They give this chili the warm and unique flavor that it has. I credit Williams-Sonoma for that. Lastly, this is a soupy chili, If you like a thicker chili, I would recommend thickening it before serving with a cornstarch and chicken broth mixture (1 Tbs cornstarch/1/4 up chicken broth) .


  • 3 15 oz. cans Great Northern or Cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes (Zesty Jalapeño or Chipotle Chili)
  • 1 7 oz. can Green Chiles
  • 3 Tbl. Olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, poached and shredded
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped. The more the better, I think!
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese such as sharp Cheddar
  • sour cream, for serving
  • tortilla chips

Poach chicken breasts by placing them in a pan with enough water to cover, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Off heat, cover the pot and let chicken breasts stand in hot water for another 20 minutes. Remove from water and let cool. In a large pot, sauté chopped onions in olive oil on medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes, add garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add green chilies, diced tomatoes, cumin, oregano, coriander, cloves, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir, then add beans and chicken broth. Cook mixture on low heat for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. At this point, you can refrigerate the chili and the cooked chicken (separately) for later use. To finish, reheat chili if refrigerated. Add shredded chicken and cook until heated through. Add fresh chopped cilantro (approximately 4 tbl.) Serve the chili in bowls topped with grated cheese, sour cream, additional fresh cilantro and tortilla chips. Additional accompaniments might include scallions, lime wedges, hot sauce, fresh sliced jalapeños, and avocados.

Note: This recipe adapts well to crock pot cooking. Cook the chili on low heat, add the cooked chicken to the beans during the last hour of cooking to heat through. Add the cilantro prior to serving. Alternatively, make chili in a large pot (like I did, the biggest one I had!!!) and then keep warm in the crock pot until ready to serve.