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Chili with Chicken and Beans


If you like, spice up this robust chili by adding chopped fresh hot chile peppers. You can also replace the canned beans with cooked dried beans; if you do so, use the bean cooking liquid to replace half the chicken stock.

  • Servings: 6
chili with chicken and beans

Photography: Sang An

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2003


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons whole cumin seed
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts (about 1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes with their juice
  • One 4-ounce can green chiles, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 cups canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) low-fat sour cream, for garnish (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large, heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and cumin seeds over medium heat until the cumin is lightly toasted and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper, and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and lightly golden, about 10 minutes.

  2. Raise heat to medium, and add the chicken, chili powder, oregano, and bay leaf to pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is seared on the outside and coated thoroughly with spices, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and green chiles, and stir to combine. Cook 5 minutes. Add stock, salt, and beans; season with black pepper, and stir to combine.

  3. Cover; simmer. Stir contents, then replace lid to partially cover pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until chili is thickened and chicken is tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Divide chili among six bowls; garnish with sour cream and cilantro leaves, if desired. Serve immediately.

Reviews Add a comment

  • auntyskitchen
    26 JUL, 2013
    Why would anyone cook chicken breasts for one and a half hours? They must be bits of string by then.
  • MS10377422
    3 MAR, 2011
    I've made this several times, and I have found that I prefer to use 2 tbsp of olive oil or else there's not enough to keep the onions from sticking. I also opt for a rotisserie chicken that is already cooked. I add the chicken at the same time, but cut down the cooking time to about 45-minutes of simmering, just until the chicken becomes shredded and it starts getting thick. I also leave out the salt. It's a little tweeked, but in my opinion it's worth the time saving, and it taste delicious!
  • foodie72
    10 JAN, 2011
    When cooking your own dried beans, ensure you cook them thoroughly. Raw kidney beans contain Phytohaemagglutinin, which can cause illness if not destroyed through adequate cooking. The Food and Drug Administration recommends soaking the beans in water for at least 5 hours, then pouring away the water, then boiling briskly in fresh water for at least 10 minutes (then simmer about one hour). Slow cookers may not get hot enough to do the job alone.
  • SarahBreeze
    27 FEB, 2009
    Low fat sour cream makes this a bit lighter. Also using only one tablespoon of oil for cooking, and skimming the fat from the chicken stock. Any recipe can be easily adjusted for a slow cooker; you should look at your owner's manual for tips or simply experiment.
  • lorraine86
    26 JAN, 2009
    Very similar to my chicken chili recipe. I also add 1 small can of brown beans. Very tasty.
  • pilosa
    11 JAN, 2009
    what makes this lighter than most other chicken chilis? I wish there were more slow-cooker recipes, or tips on how to adjust recipes for them.