Chicken Chili

My first post is actually something I made over the weekend, but this is the perfect dish to make ahead.  It actually tastes better the next day!

First of all, I should say that Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa) has never let me down.  I have all of her cookbooks and record her show on the Food Network.  She emphasizes high quality, fresh ingredients in her recipes, a cooking philosophy I couldn’t agree with more.

I made a few minor changes to the recipe below.  I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I roasted a couple of extra for Angus!).  I forgot to buy yellow peppers so I omitted those.   I did add a 14.5 oz. can of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained) because I like my chili with beans.  Lastly, I doubled the amount of red pepper flakes because I like it SPICY.

I served the chili with grated jack cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and sour cream (for Tim).

Chicken Chili


  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
  • 1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Adapted from 2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties!

1 thought on “Chicken Chili”

  • Thanks for the introduction to this recipe. I made this for our Super Bowl party and was pleased to find a light chili that satisfied both the guys and the girls. I also added cannellini beans and red kidney beans to give it a bit more heft. It wasn’t too filling, so people had room left for the Barefoot Contessa’s Mac & Cheese which is also a great recipe.

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