This Tex-Mex Chicken Chili recipe is a make-ahead feast. You can make the entire dish, sans the final garnish, up to two days ahead of time, or just parts of it if you want. I like to prepare it a day before I serve it because I find it tastes better after it’s mellowed for a day or so in the ‘fridge. Don’t be misled by the word “mellow” though. the chipotle peppers- which are smoked jalapenos and their accompanying adobo sauce are smoky hot and their heat intensifies as the chili sits. If your family is not sure about a spicy chili, leave out the peppers or cut back to a single one.
Best of all, how the smoky flavors of the chipotles mingle with the chicken and white beans as they’re balanced by the shredded cheddar and seductively cooled by the sour cream in this Tex-Mex Chicken Chili recipe.
Tex-Mex Chicken Chili
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 pound)
6 Cups low sodium chicken stock
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
6 Cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 Ribs celery, finely diced
2 Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped (optional)
2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 Scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
½ Cup chopped cilantro
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 Ounces shredded white cheddar cheese (about 2 cups), for garnish
Sour cream or Greek yogurt, for garnish
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken and the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and poach the chicken for 15 to 18 minutes, turning if needed, until just cooked through. Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside until cool enough to handle. Reserve 1 quart of the poaching liquid. Finely shred the chicken and set aside until needed. Cover and refrigerate if making ahead of time.
The chicken can be prepped to this point up to two days ahead of time.
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and chipotle peppers.
The vegetables can be chopped a day ahead of time, keep them in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
Sauté the vegetables over medium-low for 6 to 8 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the cumin and sauté for an additional minute. Add the beans, reserved liquid, and chicken and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Add the scallions and cilantro and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes longer until the flavors blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
The chili can be made to this point two days ahead of time. Reheat over medium heat. Thin with a little chicken stock if necessary.
Before serving, garnish with shredded cheese and sour cream and serve.
Like most chili recipes, add a salad side dish that can also be made ahead of time. A good, hot chili, with a nice cold salad is a great way to spend any sort of party or even a weeknight at home with the family. The goal of a make-ahead meal is to save you time in the kitchen and allow you to spend that time doing something else or just relax.