White Bean Chicken Chili



I think summer might actually be over. My skin is moisture-deprived and flaky, the warmth of my combat boots looks way more appealing than that of my flats, and I’m pretty sure my coral lipstick just became seasonably inappropriate.

Now is around the time when I usually go into deep hibernation, ensconced under a toasty assemblage of comforters, emerging only for knitting supplies and occasionally to go to work.

While I am not such a fan of winter and all its glacial horrors, I am very much a fan of winter comfort foods, chili being the newest addition to my mental stockpile of favoured winter fare.

Up until very recently I was under the impression that chili was a requisite source of nasty tomatoes and indiscernible ground meat. (More information about my tomato revulsion can be found here!) But did you know that chili can also be delicious? And completely tomato-free?

This white bean chicken chili is incredibly tasty, which may have something to do with the fact that I replaced all the tomatoes in the recipe with booze. Good old booze. Always there when you need it.

It also boasts nice big chunks of chicken breast, white kidney beans, and a leafy combo of Swiss chard and kale, ’cause there’s room for greens in everything.

I know I’ve already completely sold you on my delicious chili, but I’m gonna keep going.

This recipe can be made both on the stove top or in a slow cooker, though I highly recommend the slow cooker version because it’s so much less effort, and you can stay nestled under your thermal acropolis for eight whole hours while it cooks. Plus cooking things at low temperatures for long periods of times just makes things taste extra good.

Here are both versions of the recipe, in case you have not yet joined the slow cooking movement (which you totally should because slow cooked food makes winter just a pinch less painful).


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 lbs chicken breast, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 (15-oz) cans white kidney beans
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard or kale
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white whine
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh ground pepper for seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese (garnish)

Method (slow cooker)

  1. Combine all ingredients except Parmesan and Swiss chard/kale in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
  3. Stir in Swiss chard/kale and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve with Parmesan.
  5. Method (stove top)

    1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
    3. Add the uncooked chicken, salt, cumin, fennel seeds, and chili powder.
    4. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
    5. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, chicken stock, and white wine.
    6. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and continue simmering for 50-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened.
    7. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes.
    8. Season with salt and pepper.
    9. Ladle into bowls and serve with Parmesan.
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