I’m going to come clean straight away and admit that this is not an authentic Mexican dish, I don’t know if chicken chilli is actually a thing in Mexican cuisine. But I have been making this chicken chilli for a while now, it’s a recipe I’ve very roughly adapted from Delia Smith’s Chicken Chilli (see notes) and it is one of my favourite meals to make at the weekend, especially for Sunday supper. This is a cosy dinner, something to set you up for the new week and if you are lucky enough to have leftovers then Monday’s lunchtime will be better for it too.
There are about a million versions of this type of chicken chilli on the web, this is our version. It is not too spicy as I wanted my whole family to be able to eat it. And if you’re a regular reader then you will know that I am the only heat fiend in this family, I try to push the boundaries sometimes but my lot prefer medium spiced dishes. But fear not this can be made hotter and if you’re looking for a chilli with more heat then check out my vegetarian chilli. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.
How to make chicken chilli
I use boneless and skinless chicken thighs, I find the meat in the thighs has a better flavour. You can leave the chicken thighs whole or chop them into bitesize chunks if you wish. I shred them up a little once the chilli is cooked. I have used chicken breasts to make this but thighs always taste better. Leftover roast chicken works well too.
Ground cumin and ground coriander are my spices of choice, I have ground coriander seeds and used these but I find coriander works just as well. Now I do add chilli powder but just enough to give this chilli a little kick, go ahead and add more if you prefer this to be hotter, one heaped teaspoon should do the trick.
The vegetables and aromatics
I add celery to all my chillies, it gives the base a little extra flavour. I use 3 fat cloves of garlic and one green jalapeño pepper, again if you want more heat then I would add another jalapeño pepper. Chopping the stems of the coriander and adding it when you cook the spices will give this chilli a little bit of freshness and more of that lovely coriander flavour. Rehydrated ancho chilli adds an extra fruity, warm flavour to this chicken chilli, if you can’t find it in your local supermarket then don’t worry the chilli will still taste great without it. Yellow bell pepper works best with this chilli as it is sweeter than green or red peppers.
A good quality chicken stock works best with this chicken chilli, however, I have also made it with low sodium chicken stock and once with vegetable stock. Use whatever you have handy. To thicken the sauce I made a slurry of milk and cornflour (cornstarch).
Cannellini beans are my bean of choice, and I use one can of beans, I have seen a lot of recipes that add 2 cans of beans but I think this just overcrowd the chilli. You could add more if you like but I find one can is enough. You could also use dried beans but I don’t have the time for that.
Serving it up
Boiled white rice makes this a very satisfying meal, brown rice works well too or you could keep it low carb and try this with mixed seed quinoa. I love all the extras with chilli so that means grated mature cheddar, sour cream, slices of jalapeño, raw or pickled and lime wedges.
A warming Mexican style chicken chilli, tasty and satisfying the whole family will love this.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 1 medium brown onion finely chopped
- 1 green jalapeño pepper, pith and seeds removed very finely chopped
- 1 stalk of celery finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/2 a large dried ancho chilli
- 1 tsp finely chopped coriander stems, save the leaves for later
- 400 ml good quality chicken stock hot
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper stem, pith and seeds removed then chopped into chunks
- A handful of chopped coriander leaves + more for serving
- 50 ml milk I used full fat milk
- 1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 can of cannellini beans drained and rinsed under a cold tap
- The juice of 1 lime freshly squeezed
Add the ancho chilli to a small bowl, cover with just boiled water and leave for about 10 minutes. Once the pepper has been rehydrated, remove the stem and seeds then chop finely.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan.
Add the chicken thighs and cook over a medium to hot heat until the chicken is cooked through turning once or twice. Once they are cooked remove from the pan and leave in a bowl until later.
Turn down the heat then add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, add the onion and celery and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the spices, green jalapeño, ancho chilli, garlic and coriander stems. Cook until the spices release their aroma, about 2 minutes.
Pour about 2 tablespoons of hot chicken stock into the pan, stir well for about 1 minutes then add the remaining stock.
Return the chicken to the pan along with the yellow pepper, beans and lime juice.
Reduce the heat so the sauce is at a slow simmer then cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
The chicken should be tender and the sauce should be reduced a little.
In a small jug make a slurry with the milk and cornflour.
Remove the lid from the pan, stir in the cornflour slurry and stir continuously until the sauce thickens. This will take about 5 minutes.
Break up the chicken with two forks.
Finally, stir in the chopped coriander and serve immediately with rice, slices of green jalapeño, grated mature cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream and lime wedges.
- This recipe is very roughly adapted from Delia Smith's Mexican Chicken Chilli with Yellow Tomato Salsa which you can find here.
- Calories are approximate and do not include rice and toppings.
- If you'd like to make this in less time then add cooked shredded chicken after you add the stock.
- Ancho chillies can be found in the international food section of your supermarket. If you can't find them don't worry this chilli will still taste good without them.
- This chilli can be stored in the fridge and reheated the next day, just make sure the chicken is completely warmed through.
More Mexican Inspired Dinners:
- Mexican Bean Salad
- Taco Salad
- Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Beef, Bean and Chorizo Chilli
- Grilled Salmon Tacos
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious food.