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Chicken and White Bean Chili Recipe

A quick and easy chicken and white bean chili recipe that's good for your body and your soul in equal measure. This meal is equally at home as a weeknight family dinner, toted along in your lunchbox, or doubled for a dinner party. If you're long on leftover turkey after Thanksgiving, you could shred up a pound of cooked turkey meat and add it to the chili in place of chicken. (Or, as I've started to do, buy and shred a whole small rotisserie chicken.)


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about one pound total or a little more)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling on chicken before roasting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, divided**
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups good vegetable or chicken broth
  • 8 ounces canned diced mild green chilis
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (cut the other half into wedges for serving)
  • Shredded sharp cheddar or jack cheese, optional
  • Sour cream, optional


  • Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the center. Place chicken breasts in a small roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and some salt and pepper. Turn with tongs to coat evenly. Bake until cooked through, 20 minutes give or take. Set aside to cool.
  • While the chicken bakes, warm the remaining two tablespoons olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and a little bit browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant, about a minute. Add flour, remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder and the cumin and stir to coat vegetables. Cook, stirring, for one minute.
  • Pour in the broth and diced chilis and raise heat to high. Stir a few times to incorporate flour, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about five minutes.
  • Using two forks, shred chicken. Add chicken and beans to pot along with any accumulated juices from the chicken roasting pan, and simmer for a few minutes more to warm through.
  • Off the heat, stir in cilantro, red onion and lime juice. To serve, ladle into bowls and pass cheese, sour cream and lime wedges at the table if you like.
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    Recipe Notes

  • * Substitute a good gluten-free flour blend such as this one to make this meal gluten-free.
  • ** I learned the hard way a few years ago to specify for a global audience that chili powder refers to the American-style spice blend, not pure ground red pepper.
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