White Bean Chicken Chili

For nearly everyone, when you think of chili, you think of a mahogany red colored stew of beef (and perhaps beans), with both savory and sweet spices.

It can be delicately spiced and very approachable, or it just might burn the leather off the soles of your shoes…, just because.

Whether mild or blistering hot, almost everyone agrees, it’s all about the beef, the tomatoes and the spices.

Chicken? Wait a minute…did you just say chicken?

If orange, is the new black.

Chicken (or turkey), is the new beef.

At least when it comes to chili.

How and when chicken chili came about is certainly a guess but it those extolling the virtues of poultry as a substitute for red meat certainly pushed its popularity to an all-time high in the past decade.

Most everyone agrees that our modern-day Chili Con Carne,  is an American adaptation of a similar Mexican, Canary Island or Moroccan dishes going back hundreds of years.

Being the melting pot that it is, Texans, more specifically San Antonians gradually assimilated these multiple culinary influences within what was their simple peasant style stew of hashed beef and peppers and, over time, turned a local stew, into a nationally renowned, destination worthy dish.

Known locally as a “bowl of red”, it was even the featured dish at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 at the San Antonio Chili Stand and then eventually made the official state food of Texas in 1977.


If you think the subject of using chicken instead of red meat in chili might be sacrilegious to the chili purists, just bring up the subject of beans.

It’s not a matter of which beans or what proportion to meat, it’s a matter of no beans.

No, no, no and #@!*%#! no.

Chili today.

Purists aside, the real “power” behind chili is The International Chili Society, (ICS) which holds the World Championship Chili Cook-off.

It was formed in 1967 and divides the chili competitions into the following categories:

  • Traditional Red
  • Chili Verde
  • Homestyle Chili
  • Veggie Chili

And you might be interested to know that not only does the Homestyle Chili allow the use of ANY meat (you go CHICKEN!) but the recipes MUST have beans in them!

And, well, that’s a good thing because the International Chili Society’s World Cook-Off’s presenting sponsor, is none other than….

Wait for it…..

Bush’s Best beans….

If you’d like more information about the International Chili Society or any of its upcoming competitions, hit the following link with your wooden spoon…


And, as promised, here is the Red Goose recipe for our delicious White Bean Chicken Chili

Makes about 3 quarts.

12 oz  boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 links  chicken Italian sausage

½ stick butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno

½ cup  chopped white onion

1 pound  ground chicken meat

½ cup  diced red bell pepper

¼ cup  chopped green onion

¾ cup  diced (seeded) Roma tomato

½ cup   cut corn

2 cups  Northern beans, drained

3 cups  strong chicken stock

2 tablespoons ground cumin

¼ cup  dark chili powder

to taste  ground black pepper and salt

Optional garnish: sour cream, green onions, red bell pepper and fresh jalapeno

  1. Begin my grilling both the 12 ounces of chicken breast and 2 links of chicken Italian sausage, then finish cooking them to 165 F in a 350 F oven. Cool and dice into ½” pieces.
  2. In a small saucepan, cook together the butter and flour over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, making a roux. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for later use.
  3. In a medium-large sauce pot, sauté the onions, garlic and jalapeno with vegetable oil, over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the ground chicken and cook until opaque and fully done.
  5. Add the red bell pepper, green onions and Roma tomato, cut corn, Northern beans, diced grilled chicken and cut chicken Italian sausage. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken stock and the roux and stir together well until it reaches a simmer. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Add the cumin, chili powder, ground pepper and salt to taste. Simmer slowly an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Serve with sour cream, green onions, slivers of red bell pepper and a thin slice of fresh jalapeno.

59 thoughts on “White Bean Chicken Chili

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