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Simple chicken chili is an easy way to feed a New Year’s Day crowd |
Food & Drink

Simple chicken chili is an easy way to feed a New Year’s Day crowd

Diane Rossen Worthington
After a night of partying, a bowl of chicken chili is quick and comforting.

New Year’s Day at my house is a cozy place for friends, family and chili. After late-night partying the night before, friends stop by in the afternoon and early evening for a casual bowl. And through the years, this tradition has grown, with friends bringing friends. The television is on with a football game in one room, and the dining room has my favorite music playing in the background. Large cereal bowls or chili bowls, big spoons and napkins are all you need to put out on a table; let your guests help themselves.

I like to switch up my chili every year. This year, pre-cooked, cut-up chicken is bathed in a rich, flavor-packed chili sauce reminiscent of a rich Mexican mole sauce. To make this extra easy, pick up roasted chickens ahead of time, then skin and cube or shred them into 1- to 12-inch pieces. Cover and refrigerate. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before adding it to the chili.

Also, measure out all the ingredients ahead so you can cook it quickly. If you are having a crowd, you can double the recipe. Just make sure to use two large pots.

Bottled roasted peppers work well here since fresh ones are out of season. You can vary the types of beans used; instead of pinto beans, try red kidney beans or black beans. Sometimes I’ll add some winter squash for extra color and flavor. If you like it very spicy, throw in another chile or two. Serve it with your favorite corn bread and perhaps your favorite Mexican beer.

Contact Diane Rossen Worthington at

Chicken Chili

For the chili:

6 medium whole chicken breasts, cooked; or 2 whole roasted rotisserie chickens

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 large onions, finely chopped (6 cups)

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced

8 medium cloves garlic, minced

4 teaspoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon cinnamon

12 cup best quality chili powder

2 bottles (12 ounces each) beer

2 12 to 3 cups chicken broth

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

2 bottles (12 ounces each) fire-roasted peppers, rinsed and diced

2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans

1 square unsweetened chocolate, grated

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt, to taste

Optional garnishes:

Sour cream

Tomato salsa or jalapeno salsa

Grated, sharp cheddar cheese

Chopped green or red onion

Crushed tortilla chips

Skin and bone the chicken and shred or cut into small pieces. Place in a bowl and cover. Set aside.

In a large (6-quart) Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft, for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the jalapeno and garlic, and saute for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant. Add the oregano, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chili powder, and stir until well combined.

Pour in the beer, chicken broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook, partially covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the reserved chicken, the peppers and the beans. Continue to simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so, until it is nicely thickened.

Add the grated chocolate and vinegar and stir until the chocolate is melted and everything is well incorporated. Season to taste with salt.

Serve the chili with your choice of garnishes.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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