Chicken Chili

I have wanted to try out Ina’s Chicken Chili for awhile, and now that the winter months are closing in on us here in Wisconsin, it is the perfect time for chili.

When I first read through the recipe I noticed a few things that surprised me, and I made a few adjustments to the Contessa’s chili recipe. Most notably the amount of onions in the original recipe seemed high. The final product would yield almost a cup of onions per serving, which is way too much for us. On the flip side, I was missing bean and vegetables, so I added white beans, corn, and, because I had them in the fridge, some chopped zucchini. I could tell we would want more of a kick in our chili than the original recipe. To “correct” this, I increased the amount of seasonings, added some chopped jalapeños, and substituted chipotle powder for the red pepper flakes. Next time I will be buying pre-chopped canned tomatoes, as I don’t see what was gained in the final product by my having to chop the tomatoes myself rather than buying them that way. Finally, I omitted the basil. This was as much a decision based on taste (basil in chili?) as it was on forgetfulness (I didn’t put it on the grocery list).

The final product was good, but reminded Jim more of a tortilla soup than a chili, which wasn’t a bad thing, just not chili. Good thing we liked it though, because there is a vat of it waiting to be eaten. I don’t know who these 12 people are that Ina is serving, but they must be really, really hungry.



  • 4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)*
  • ¼ cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
  • ¼ cup minced garlic (4 cloves)*
  • Jalapeños, 1 or 2, seeded or unseeded, to taste*
  • 4 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 4 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for chicken
  • 4 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes in puree, un-drained
  • 2 (15 oz )cans White Beans
  • 2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup (2 small) zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • For serving: Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream, short pasta

*To chop the onions, garlic, and jalapeño, place into your food processor in batches and pulse 8 to 10 times until chopped to desired size. This is a huge time, and tear, saver.*



  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly.
  3. Cook the onions, garlic, and jalapeño in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Separate the chicken from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili along with the corn, beans, and zucchini (if you are using) and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes or longer.
  5. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

2 thoughts on “Chicken Chili

    • jaimeleben says:

      It’s good, but I agree with my husband when he noted that it was a bit more like a tortilla soup than a chili. Not that that is a bad thing, but just something to keep in mind.

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