This green chicken chili is a one-pot meal that’s loaded with chicken thighs, tomatillos, green chiles, cumin, oregano, and lime juice. It’s a little spicy, a little tangy, and completely doable on a weeknight.
This quick green chicken chili—or chile verde, if you will—is a little spicy, a little tangy, and a little less than an hour from start to table.–Angie Zoobkoff
Green Chicken Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 jalapeño chile pepper seeded and diced
- 2 8 oz poblano or green bell peppers seeded and diced
- 6 fresh husked tomatillos or one (11-ounce | 312-g) can tomatillos drained, roughly chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- One can mild or hot chopped green chile peppers preferably Hatch
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup cilantro fine stems and leaves roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeño chile thinly sliced
- 1 Hass avocado peeled and sliced (optional)
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, jalapeño, poblano or bell peppers, tomatillos, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, cumin, and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then add to the Dutch oven. Pour in the stock and raise the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Don’t let it boil. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 20 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: If the chicken pieces aren’t completely submerged, turn them over halfway through cooking.
- Remove the chicken and place it in a shallow bowl. Use a fork and knife to shred the chicken.
- Add the chicken back to the Dutch oven along with any accumulated liquid and the green chile peppers.
- Cook until the chicken is warmed through, about 2 minutes. Squeeze in as much (or little) lime as desired and adjust the seasoning as needed.
☞TESTER TIP: Give your chili a quick taste before adding the lime juice. The acidity of the chiles can vary and you may not need to add anywhere near all of the lime juice.
- Ladle the chili into bowls and top with cilantro, avocado, if using, and sliced jalapeño. Serve with lime wedges.
Quick Chile VerdeIf you prefer your chili with beans or would like to make this a heartier meal, simply toss in a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans when you remove the chicken. Use a wooden spoon to mash some of the beans against the side of the pot before adding the chicken back to the chili.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
There is always a place for a fast chile verde in my kitchen! When I do spot Hatch chiles, I try to snag several batches, roasting, peeling, and setting them aside in the freezer for future chile verde. If you don’t have some, it’s fine to use tinned ones though, and the same for tomatillos, but you may need to cut back on salt if you’re not using fresh. I didn’t spot any poblanos, which is a shame since they add such a rich depth of flavor, but the green bell peppers worked well and my jalapenos had good heat.
This is nearly a pantry chile, but fresh ingredients are a bonus. It’s a surprise that the onion and pepper mixture actually does get plenty of cooking (initially it seemed so quick when sautéing), but the additional simmering with the meat and stock really did the job. I did turn the thighs to keep them submerged (my round-bottomed Dutch oven sometimes seems shallow at the sides) and the meat was thoroughly cooked when I removed it to shred.
Note: For those who really prefer a thicker broth, if you were to remove a cup of so of the cooked chiles and onions while the meat was being shredded, you could buzz it for a few seconds in a blender or with an immersion blender and return it to the pot with the chicken. I’m happy either way.
Also, if you find raw sliced jalapeños too strong, I recommend slightly pickled jalapenos.
This took a little more than 90 minutes, fed 2 people for 2 nights, and was a great comfort on a cold winter week! The reheated (leftover) chile can also be extended with more broth, tomatillos, and some beans if you wish, or just poach a couple of eggs in the chile and serve for lunch! This is an easy and flexible recipe that’s weeknight friendly.
The second night, I added a bit of broth and a few tomatillos, simmered, and half a tin of drained, rinsed cannellini beans, simmered a few minutes, then roughly mashed with the added tomatillos, then added the leftover chile and heated through. This altered the taste a bit, the beans were okay but unless you had brothy beans cooking from the beginning, they don’t seem part of the chile and just are an extender.
I think poaching an egg or two in the remaining chile would have been just as good as the beans and more to our liking. The only thing that would have been better is if I had some homemade stock.
My list of quick dinners always has room for more and I happily add this chili. (The Quick Chicken Chili is the other chicken chili on the list.) Served with tortilla chips, it made a perfect casual meal for a few friends. I did add a 14-ounce can of cannellini beans just because I love them, not because the chili was missing something. If you’re so inclined as well, mash the beans before you add the shredded chicken back in the pot.
One thing I’ll change next time: Hold the lime juice at the end as the acidic liquid from the canned green chiles was quite pronounced. I would certainly have lime wedges on the table so that guests can make theirs as tangy as they wish. I used finely chopped jalapeños I always have in the freezer (sandwiched between parchment and then wrapped in foil). It’s super convenient for adding a little heat to whatever I’m cooking. One medium chile = 1 tablespoon minced is my guide.
This green chicken chili is a hearty warm bowl of spicy comfort that’s easy enough to cook during the week.
I used green bell pepper and canned tomatillos. Do not hesitate to use the canned tomatillos. While the recipe says it only serves 2 it easily serves 4 especially if you add a can of drained white or pinto beans.
I have been craving chili but haven’t wanted to make one of my go-to recipes that are made with beef, or pork, or a combination of the two. We had been eating what could be considered a bit too much red meat over the holidays, and I liked the thought of making a chili using chicken. This didn’t disappoint.
It was straightforward to make and the results were quite pleasing. The optional ingredients—the beans, avocado and, sliced jalepeño peppers—were a fun addition. I will keep this recipe in mind for when I want an alternative to standard chili.
I used half a can of mild and half a can of hot Hatch chiles. My husband and I got 2 dinners each out of this with enough leftover for a lunch portion.
I served refried beans, salsas, and tortillas chips on the side. Oh, yes, and cold local beer.
Originally published February 05, 2020
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
What a great recipe! It was super quick and easy to put together and did yield great flavor. Leftovers the next day were also very good!
I cooked it longer than necessary, mostly because we weren’t ready to eat dinner when it was ready, and it thickened up nicely. It was great as leftovers as well. A great recipe and very flavorful without having to have a ton of hatch peppers to cook with! It was great with cornbread.