Easy Green Chicken Chili

overhead shot of easy green chicken chili in a white bowl

As I’m writing this, it’s gray and cold outside, the sun has taken the day off, the rain looms. In other words, it’s a great day for a big pot of lazy, Easy Green Chicken Chili. Seasoned with simple ingredients (onion, garlic, cumin, store-bought chicken stock) and enhanced with a jar of tangy, tomatillo-based salsa verde, this chili recipe delivers fast, cozy flavor that’s ideal for these brisk, fledgling days of spring.

Chopped vegetables and two forms of protein (succulent chicken thighs and creamy cannellini beans) make this a complete meal, especially when served with a quick pot of minute rice. You could add even more heft (and verdancy!) with a big bag of baby spinach stirred in at the end. 

I prefer chili on the probably-too-thick side, so this recipe calls for very little liquid, plus a cornstarch slurry (a mixture of cornstarch and water) to thicken things even further. The resulting meal is hearty, savory, and satisfying when paired with an array of creamy, crunchy, and spicy toppings.

The best of type of chicken to use

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are the best pick for this recipe— they won’t dry out, they add richness and body to the stock, and they are easy to shred. You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts if you prefer, but they will be a little drier and won’t contribute as much flavor to the stock.

In a pinch, you can use shredded rotisserie chicken. Just simmer the stock without the chicken first, for as long as you’ve got (the longer you simmer, the more the flavor of the onions and garlic will enhance the flavor of the chili), then add in the shredded chicken at the end and just simmer it for a few minutes so that the flavors meld.

How to make Green Chicken Chili in a slow cooker

Got time? This dish can easily be made in a slow cooker, just sauté the onions and garlic first, then add them to the slow cooker with the spices, salsa verde, chicken, stock, and beans and cook 4-6 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low (low heat always yields more tender meat). Stir in the cornstarch slurry for the last hour or so of cooking, and add in the cilantro and lime juice just before serving.

What to do with leftovers

Store this chili in the fridge for up to five days, or the freezer for up to three months. One of my favorite ways to use up leftovers is to make enchiladas: Stuff the enchiladas with whatever you like (sautéed peppers and onions, black beans and sweet potatoes, shredded chicken and cheese, etc.), roll them up, place them in a baking pan, then pour the leftover chili on top to cover the tortillas completely. Top off with cheese and bake at 400℉ until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

More soup & stew recipes: 

Easy Green Chicken Chili

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Dinner American
By Samantha Serves: 4-6
Total Time: 1 hour

Seasoned with simple ingredients and enhanced with a jar of tangy, tomatillo-based salsa verde, this chili recipe delivers fast, cozy flavor.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 15 oz jar salsa verde
  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini or great northern beans, do not drain
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Rice, cubed avocado, sour cream, pickled jalapeno, and cheese, for serving

Instructions

1

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the salsa verde and bring to a simmer.

2

Generously season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the pot. Stir in the chicken stock and beans and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, stirring occasionally, 30-35 minutes. Be sure to check the heat to make sure the mixture maintains a simmer, not a boil.

3

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Add the cornstarch mixture to the chili cooking liquid and simmer on low heat while you shred the chicken, 3-5 minutes. Shred the chicken using two forks; add back to the pot. Off heat, stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls and pass the toppings at the table.

Notes

Using a Dutch oven ensures that nothing sticks to or scorches the bottom of the pot. If you only have a lighter pot, stir the chili often so that the bottom does not burn, and keep the heat on low.

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