This green chicken chile is a wintertime staple in my family. The best part is that I’ve learned how to hide kale in it to give the kids some extra nutrition. When they’re finally old enough to figure it out, it will be too late and we can laugh at them!
In the meantime, give this one a try. I’ve been making this for years and have found the simplest shortcuts to maximize flavor and balance this delicious and super nutritious chile.
Building the Base of th Green Chicken Chile
I start by building a base, and this is where we start with our trickery. First, saute sweet onions in a little oil until they start to brown but not burn. This take about 10 minutes and will bring out their sweetness.
Once that’s done, dust them with ground cumin and ground garlic and stir those over the heat until fragrant, about another minute or two.
This is where I add my first secret weapon, a jar of salsa verde. I use this Herdez salsa verde, but feel free to use one you prefer. The salsa verde adds tomatillos, salt, and some spices, along with a little liquid. It immediately amps up the flavor. Next I add the canned fire roasted chiles, which build on what we started with the salsa. I like to drain the cans because the liquid in them tastes very bitter. Finally, add the chicken broth.
Sneaking Kale into the Green Chicken Chile
Now we add the chopped kale. I usually just buy a bunch for this recipe but 4 cups of the stuff should be plenty. I think you could use more.
You could also skip this step and many people wouldn’t blame you. However, I’ve found that I can hide the kale’s taste and appearance! Here’s how: Once the chopped kale cooks in the base about 30-45 minutes it softens considerably. I then use an immersion blender to blend the base and kale until it’s all smooth. The kale ends up looking like bits of fire roasted chiles floating in the base. Magic!
Adding the Chunky Bits to the Green Chicken Chile Base
Once you have your blended base, you can add chopped chicken, white beans, and sweet corn and cook the whole thing for another 30 minutes or so. This will meld the flavors and bring additional body to your concoction. For this version of the recipe I used the chicken breast Costco pulls from its rotisserie chickens as it has a great flavor.
Sometimes I find old grocery store rotisserie chickens, pull the meat from them and add the chicken bones in a tied cheese cloth to the base and cook it a little longer. Then I will add the chicken meat, beans and corn. This really adds to the chicken flavor but also adds steps to the process. I leave it to you.
How to Chase Away Bitterness from the Green Chicken Chile
All these chiles and kale can produce a pretty bitter brew.
By using sweet onions and sweet corn we’ve made an effort to counter it. But I’ve found that the addition of a 1/2 cup of orange juice adds the final bit of sweetness to the chili along with a flavor that people can’t detect. It also fires the final salvo in the fight to mask the flavor of the kale.
I really like orange juice when paired with Mexican style cooking and use it in one of my favorite fajita chicken marinades.
Serving the Green Chicken Chile
Once you’ve cooked this, ladle it out into bowls and garnish it with any of your normal chili fixins, including sour cream, shredded cheese, diced jalapenos or serranos, lime wedges, hot sauce, corn bread, etc. My family often eats this with giant “scoops” corn chips.
You can freeze any leftovers and save them for another cold day.
Enjoy and let me know if you tried this and how you changed it to suit your own tastes.
Roman's Green Chicken Chile with White Beans and Kale
- Large Stock Pot
- Immersion Blender or Blender
- 1 med Yellow or sweet onion, diced
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
- 1 tbsp ground garlic
- 4 7 oz cans Fire roasted green chiles, mild, drained of juice
- 1 16 oz jar Salsa Verde
- 4 cups Fresh green kale, chopped optional
- 64 oz Chicken Broth This is 2 32 oz boxes
- ½ cup Orange juice
- 2 15 oz cans White beans or great northern beans, drained of juice
- 2 lbs Chopped cooked chicken breast I use the Costco rotisserie chicken for this.
- 1 lb Frozen corn or drained canned corn
Make the Base
- In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat and add diced onions. Cook onions, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add ground cumin and ground garlic and cook, stirring often for 1-2 minutes.
- Add salsa verde, green chiles, kale and chicken broth. Turn up heat to medium high until mixture reaches a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes to soften kale.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the base in the pot until smooth. Remember, you're trying to hide the kale from the kids!
Finishing the Chili
- Add chopped chicken to the base along with beans and corn.
- Add ½ cup of orange juice and salt and pepper to taste. The OJ will sweeten the chili and counters the bitterness of the salsa verde, canned chiles, and kale. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
- Serve in bowls with sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped hot peppers, cornbread and any of your other favorite chili accompaniments.