The tomatillo base for this chili gives it a bright, fresh taste. Combine it with traditional chicken chili ingredients and you've got a super yummy lunch or dinner in a bowl.
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I have made Chicken Chili Verde two ways.
The long way is completely from scratch where I make the tomatillo sauce base using fresh tomatillos, onions, garlic, and poblano peppers, and also soaking the beans overnight and cooking them for hours the next day.
And I've made it using shortcuts I'm sharing here. And honestly, I don't taste a bit of difference - they're both equally good and taste the same. Taking a couple shortcuts results in huge time savings.
Chicken Chili Verde - it's all about tomatillos
The tomatillos are what give chicken chili verde its bright tasting broth - almost lemony.
Tomatillo in Spanish translates literally to "little tomato," but the tomatillo is actually in the ground cherry family, and they're commonly found in Mexico. They're generally roasted along with peppers - usually poblano - to make a salsa. The salsa is what we use in this recipe, saving us the time and effort required to roast and puree the ingredients.
We're using prepared salsa verde in this version of chicken chili verde, but we'll also be adding plenty of other flavorings that really make this recipe sing, in addition to the chicken itself:
- Green bell pepper
- Jalapeno pepper
- Chicken stock
- White (navy) beans
How to make Chicken Chili Verde
- Cut the chicken into large pieces and brown them on all sides in cooking oil along with the onion, celery and green pepper, then remove the chicken from the pot.
- Add the jalapeno, garlic and cumin to the pot and saute briefly, then add half the chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pot to release the fond. Add the rest of the stock and the prepared salsa verde. Bring the pot to a gentle simmer.
- Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and add it to the pot. Simmer for 40-45 minutes.
- Finally, add the beans to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, just enough to heat them through.
Try pairing this easy Chicken Chili Verde recipe with my recipe for Corn Casserole topped with cheddar and bacon - they make a great duo!
A fan favorite recipe here at The Unfussy Cook is Slow Cooker Pot Roast and Gravy - give it a whirl, I just know you're going to love it!
Chicken Chili Verde
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into large pieces (you will shred them later)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery, including the tops (leaves) cut into ⅓-½" pieces
- 1 green pepper cut into ⅓-½" pieces
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper diced very small, almost minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 32 ounces Herdez Salsa Verde or another brand, if you prefer
- 64 ounces unsalted Chicken Stock
- 32 ounces canned white (navy) beans drained and rinsed
- avocado slices for garnish
- lime wedges for squeezing
- In a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil to a shimmer and add the chicken breast pieces, browning both sides a bit and cooking the chicken through (about 5 minutes, turning the pieces after about 3 minutes). Take care not to scorch the fond (the bits that stick to the bottom of the pan), because these are going to add amazing flavor. You may need to cook the chicken in 2-3 batches if you're making a big batch of chili. Set the cooked chicken aside to cool.
- If needed, add a little more cooking oil to the pot, heat it up and add the onion, celery and green pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the jalapeno, garlic and cumin and saute for another 3 minutes.
- Add about 2 cups of the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to release the fond and get it dissolving into the broth. Then add the rest of the broth and the Salsa Verde. Bring this up to a gentle simmer.
- While the pot is coming up to a simmer, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and add them to the pot. Cook at the gentle simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Add the drained and rinsed beans and continue cooking just until the beans are heated through, about 10 minutes tops. Remember, the beans are already well cooked and we don't want them to start turning into mush.
- Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the heat.
- Serve with avocado slices for garnish and lime wedges on the side for squeezing into the broth.