This healthy chicken chili recipe derives its great flavor from the homemade chicken stock and the hatch chilis.  I had frozen some hatch chilis from the annual hatch chili fest  that takes place here in Houston at my local market.  The canned ones would do just fine in this recipe as well.  If you are not a fan of a lot of heat, opt for the mild canned chilis rather than the hot ones.  I also like to start with dried beans, rather than the canned ones.  It takes a little more time and advance planning, but the flavor is worth it in my estimation.  The beans have a better texture and all that is required is soaking and boiling.  If you are avoiding dairy, the crema is not a must, but it adds a delicious hit of flavor to finish the soup.  I used greek yogurt rather than actual cream as a health-conscious addition.

Serves 4-6


for stock:

  • 1 3-4 lb whole chicken
  • 1 whole onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

for soup:

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups cooked black beans, substitute 2  15-oz cans
  • 1 cup chopped hatch chilis (mild or hot according to taste)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • shredded chicken, from stock
  • about 5 cups  strained stock
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Penzey’s adobo seasoning, or favorite Mexican seasoning
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • juice of 1 lime, plus extra for serving
  • thinly sliced radish

for crema:

  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


for stock:  Place chicken and all remaining ingredients in a large stock pot and fill with about 6 cups of cold water (enough water to submerge chicken about three quarters of the way full).  Bring the chicken stock to a boil, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes.  Remove from heat and once cool enough to handle, strain broth through a sieve and set aside.  Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove chicken from the bones and shred the meat, discarding vegetables and bones.

for stock:  In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté onions, carrots, celery, corn, garlic and chilis adding seasonings and sauté on medium-low for 8-10 minutes until fragrant and tender without browning vegetables.  Add about 5 cups of stock (adjust to desired consistency, leftover stock can be frozen and used for cooking rice or another soup) and bring to a simmer to finish cooking vegetables.  Add black beans and shredded chicken.  Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and fresh cilantro.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Keep warm while you prepare crema.

for crema:  Place shallot, jalapeño, cilantro and seasonings in food processor.  Pulse until very fine.  Add yogurt and with machine running, add olive oil until mixture is smooth and creamy.

to serve:  Ladle Chili in bowl, garnish with thinly sliced radish, extra cilantro sprigs and a dollop of crema as desired.  Enjoy!