Chipotle Chicken Chili

(recipe, Walter C. Willett)

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Substitute two 15-ounce cans of any variety of cooked legume — black bean, soybean, red kidney bean — for the dried beans if you're short on time. But do try the anasazi-bean version at least once; it will be worth the extra effort. This ancient bean variety has a beautiful speckled appearance and a hint of sweetness not found in other dried beans.


  1. 1½ cups dried anasazi beans, soaked overnight
  2. 1 cup dried white kidney beans (cannellini), soaked overnight
  3. 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  4. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 1 Tbsp. paprika
  7. 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  8. 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  9. 1 tsp. cumin seed
  10. 1 tsp. ground cumin
  11. 2 cups white onion, coarsely chopped
  12. 2 cups green pepper, coarsely chopped
  13. 4 cups water
  14. 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  15. 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  16. 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped with liquid
  17. 1 cup cooked or canned hominy, drained
  18. 8 raw chicken tenders (about 12 ounces), cut into 2-inch pieces
  19. ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  20. Coarse salt to taste
  21. Chopped white onion and chopped fresh cilantro, mixed together (optional)


  1. Soak the beans overnight. (Or use the quick-soak method: Place the beans in a stockpot and cover with water. Bring the mixture to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain the beans and proceed to step 2.)
  2. Heat the canola oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and the next six ingredients (bay leaf through cumin). Sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the onion and green pepper; sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the beans, water, and chipotle pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the beans are soft but still somewhat firm. Add the diced and chopped tomatoes and their liquid. Stir in the hominy, chicken, and cilantro and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Add salt to taste and garnish with a mixture of chopped raw onion and cilantro, if desired. Serve hot.


If you use canned beans, reduce the amount of water to 2 cups and decrease the cooking time to 30 minutes. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are large, dried, and smoked jalapeño peppers rehydrated in a tomato-vinegar-based sauce. They lend a wonderful smoky flavor and a small amount of heat to this chili. You'll find them in the Mexican-food section of the supermarket. Leave out the chicken if you'd like a vegetarian chili. Leftovers will freeze well; freeze chili without chopped raw onion-cilantro garnish.