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White bean chili

Anne Byrn's White Bean Chili

Serves: 8 to 10

Hands On Time: 

Total Time: 


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 ribs celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chilies with its juices or 1/2 cup finely chopped red, yellow or green bell peppers
4 cups chopped, cooked chicken (see note)
3 (15-ounce) cans great northern or navy beans, drained
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground cumin, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or crumbled queso fresco
Sour cream
Fresh cilantro leaves
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped avocado or guacamole
Tortilla chips


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion, celery, garlic and bell peppers, if using. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken and green chilies, if using.

In a large pot, combine the beans, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, cayenne and enough water to fill an empty can of beans. Stir in the onion and chicken mixture and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer until the chili thickens, 35 to 40 minutes.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne. Ladle into bowls and serve with toppings.

Photo: Danielle Atkins

About the recipe

This easy chicken chili cuts time but not flavor by utilizing piquant chopped green chiles and rotisserie chicken meat, along with a couple of cans of white beans. Toppings, such as queso fresco, cilantro, avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips further amplify the flavor of the chili without needing much prep. You can adapt the recipe to cook in a slow cooker for even easier weeknight ease. Either way, it's a real winner.

One store-bought rotisserie chicken should yield about 4 cups — perfect for this recipe.