Chicken Chili

This recipe is quite versatile and can be made with a variety of proteins depending on your taste. Try diced beef instead of chicken if you want to up the heartiness and richness, or ground turkey to keep it lean while giving the chili a different texture and appearance. We have made all these variations for our clients!

Chicken Chili
Serves 6-8

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and diced
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chiles
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, low sodium
  • 2 tablespoons cumin, ground
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, ground
  • 2 teaspoons dark chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, dry
  • 1 cup dry pinto beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 64 ounces chicken broth, low sodium
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Scallions, sliced for garnish

Heat a large pot on medium-high. Add the canola oil, then add the chicken and brown on all sides. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and peppers and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until soft and starting to get a little color.

Add the green chiles and tomatoes and stir, then add the cumin, coriander, chili powder, and oregano. Stir well to incorporate and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the beans, baking soda, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-1.5 hours. If the liquid reduces too much, add more chicken broth or water.

Once the beans are cooked and have a creamy texture, remove chili from heat and season to taste with black pepper and lemon juice. Serve right away, or save for the next day and garnish with scallions.

Nutrition Notes from Meghan Perkins, Project Angel Heart’s registered dietitian:

This hearty stew is a nutrition powerhouse. There’s a good dose of vegetables, plenty of protein, and fiber-rich carbohydrates from the beans all in one pot. Red bell peppers, tomatoes, and green chiles are great sources of vitamin C, which is important for nearly all of our body’s tissue (bones, skin, and muscles) and supports healthy immune function. The baking soda used to soften the beans adds some sodium, so if you’re following a low sodium diet, amp up the flavor with more lemon juice and herbs/spices before adding any salt. For our clients living with chronic kidney disease, we also sub beans with rice and swap tomatoes with red bell peppers to keep the potassium low.

Chef Brandon FosterBrandon Foster began his life in the kitchen at the Best Western in Frisco, Colorado, almost 18 years ago. His passion for ingredients and drive to learn technique led him down the mountain to Denver, where he worked in two of Denver’s most fondly remembered restaurants, The Fourth Story and Mel’s. He joined the crew at Vesta in 2005 as a line cook and became executive chef in 2010, focusing on getting back to the roots of cooking through charcuterie and seasonal ingredients. Ultimately, Chef Brandon’s career highlights centered on events like Plates for the Peak, Invest in Kids, and James Beard Foundation dinners where he could play a role in helping people in need- a passion that led him to Project Angel Heart in 2016. Outside the kitchen, Chef Brandon enjoys spending time skiing, camping, golfing, and eating with his wife Larissa and their three kids.