Chili is an Anderson family Christmas tradition and this year I’m sharing a warm and cozy chicken chili with red peppers, white beans, and fresh cilantro.
The stockings are hung, the presents are wrapped, the lights are up, and the Christmas dinner menu is planned. However, before I get to roasting the turkey for Christmas Day, there’s Christmas Eve dinner to think about and this year it will be chicken chili made with juicy chicken, red peppers, tender white beans, and, of course, plenty of warm chili spice and fresh cilantro.
Chili on Christmas Eve is a bit of a tradition in our family – if you were hanging around this blog this time last year you might remember the recipe I shared for beef and bean chili inspired by my mom’s version we had growing up. I switched things up a little this year with a festive chicken chili – it’s a cozy bowl of goodness for what looks like will be a chilly and rainy Christmas for us here in North Carolina.
Starting this a few hours ahead gives the flavors time to mix and mingle – everything, including the chicken, cooks in one pot on the stove. I browned two large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in the pot and then scraped up all the delicious browned bits while the onions and garlic cooked. The chicken breasts finish cooking right in the chili and after it’s simmered, I pulled them out, remove the bones and skin, and toss the shredded meat back in the chili.
To serve, you can top each serving with whatever makes you happy – crunchy tortilla chips, sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, or maybe some chopped green onion. I left mine unadorned because I like the pop of red and green from the peppers and cilantro. Looks Christmas-y, right?
Speaking of which – I hope you have a Merry Christmas! Wishing you and yours all the best this holiday season.
Warm and cozy chicken chili with tender shredded chicken, red peppers, white beans, and cilantro. Everything cooks in one pot!
30 minPrep Time
1 hrCook Time
1 hr, 30 Total Time
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 bone-in skin on chicken
breasts,seasoned with salt and pepper
medium yellow onion,finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 red peppers (stems, ribs, and seeds removed), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 (15.5
ounce) cans great northern beans (white beans), drained and rinsed.
- 64 ounces chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice from 1 lime
- In a stock pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pan (you can save it to garnish the chili or eat it while you cook the chili, which is what I did). Place the chicken breasts, skin side down, in the pot and let them cook in the bacon fat until the skins are browned. Remove the chicken breast from the pot and set aside.
- Add the onions, garlic, and red peppers to the pot and cook them for about 5 minutes. As they release their moisture, scrape up all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the cumin and chili powder to the onion mixture and give it all a good stir.
- Place the whole chicken breasts back in the pot. Pour the beans and stock over the top of the chicken. The chicken should be completely covered by the stock. If needed, add water if you need more liquid. Add the cilantro and gently stir everything together. Bring the pot to a boil and then immediately lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the chili for at least an hour.
- After an hour carefully remove the chicken breasts from the pot using tongs. Let the chicken cool for a few minutes and then, using your hands, remove the meat and shred it. Discard the skin and bones and place the shredded meat back in the pot. Let it all simmer together for a few minutes to warm the chicken. Add the fresh lime juice and check for seasoning - if needed, add more salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve with your favorite chili toppings.