Healthy Chicken Chili |

Healthy Chicken Chili

The chili paste can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge, making this an incredible 30-minute weeknight meal.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Karen Gibson


for the chili paste

  • 1 to 2 ounces whole dried chilis, 6 to 8 pods (guajillo, New Mexico, cascabel, ancho, chipotle are nice; add a chile de arbol for heat - I used 2 guajillos, 2 anchos, and 1 chipotle)
  • 2 cups very hot/near boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika pimenton
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

for the chili

  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1 small red bell pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can about 14 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1 can about 14 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce use your favorite
  • 1 can about 15 ounces black beans, drained
  • 8 ounces cooked chicken leftover or rotisserie chicken is great


prepare the chili paste

  • Cut off the tops and slice open the dried chilis and remove the seeds. Place the chilis in a bowl and pour the near-boiling water over them to cover. Let soak for 20-30 minutes, until soft. Drain (reserving the soaking liquid), and transfer the chilis to a blender. Add tomato paste, both paprikas, salt, cumin, black pepper, and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid. Blend until smooth, stopping as needed to scrape down the blender. You might also need to add a tablespoon of extra water (I recommend using fresh water - don't worry about diluting the paste; you won't) with each scraping to create a volume through which the blades can slice. Depending on the competency of your blender, you might want to push the finished paste through a wide-mesh sieve, to catch any large slivers of chili. Set the paste aside. (Makes about 1/3 cup, depending on how much liquid you added during blending).

prepare the chili

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the chicken stock in a 4 quart stock pot or dutch oven until the stock begins to sizzle. Add the onions and peppers, and saute until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic, and stir briefly.
  • Add the chili paste and continue stirring until the chilis become fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken stock, BBQ sauce, black beans, and chicken. Increase heat and bring to a light boil, then reduce to maintain a simmer. Cook for at least 15 minutes (longer, if you have the time). Let rest 10 minutes before serving (chili will continue to thicken).
  • To serve, ladle into bowls and top green onions and other garnishes as desired. Suggested toppings include sour cream, guacamole, green onions, sliced fresh jalapeƱos, shredded cheese, crumbled Fritos.