This healthy chicken chili is really more like a stew – just full of chicken and lots of red and yellow peppers. It’s a tomato-based chili that doesn’t contain beans.
It can be made with chicken breasts from the grocery store but is really tastiest when roasted heritage* chicken is used. It’s a favorite at our house – delicious and healthy too!
This chili makes a warming winter meal and is great for any kind of informal gathering. Serve with the recommended toppings and appropriate beverages, and you’re done. Well, adding a salad of some type and some cornbread would also be great additions!
The recipe is adapted from the one for chicken chili in Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten.
How To Make Healthy Chicken Chili
The chicken for this recipe is roasted in the oven and the actual chili is cooked on the stove. It makes a lot, so be sure to start with a large stockpot (at least 10 quarts).
To make, roast the chicken, allow to cool, and shred or cube the chicken for the chili. Then saute the onion in oil in your stockpot, add the tomatoes, peppers, chili pepper, ground cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and minced basil. Simmer this for 30 minutes then add the chicken and simmer for another 20 minutes.
That’s it – just serve with toppings for folks to add as they like! Suggested toppings are chopped onion, corn chips, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese.
*Heritage chickens are traditional chicken breeds that are raised over a longer period of time than today’s factory-raised chickens, and therefore develop more flavor (see Heritage Birds for Real Chicken Flavor).
Healthy Chicken Chili (without beans)
- Large (10 quart) Stockpot
For The Chili:
- 8 cups chopped yellow onions (6 onions)
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 4 red bell peppers (large dice, cored, seeded, and diced)
- 4 yellow bell peppers (large dice, cored, seeded, and diced)
- 2 teaspoons chili pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 28 - ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- kosher salt (optional - to taste)
- 1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves
- 2 4 - pound heritage roasting chickens or 8 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
- Chopped onions
- Corn chips
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
Prepare The Chicken:
- If using heritage roasting chickens, preheat the oven to 325 F degrees, place the two roasting chickens breast down in a graniteware roaster, add water to approximately 1" deep in the roasting pan, and roast for 30 minutes per pound (i.e. if using 4 lb. birds, roast for 2 hours), or until cooked through. Allow to cool, remove chicken from bones and shred, and discard skin and bones (or save for making chicken stock). Pour the collected liquid from the bottom of the roaster into a large measuring cup, refrigerate to separate the fat from the broth, skim and discard fat, and reserve broth for another use.
- If using chicken breasts, preheat the oven to 375 F degrees, place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan, rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Allow to cool, remove chicken from bones and shred, and discard the skin and bones.
For The Chili:
- Cook the onions in oil over medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes or until translucent.
- Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, tomatoes, salt, and basil.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cooked chicken to the chili and simmer (uncovered) for another 20 minutes to blend flavors.