January 6, 2018

Chicken Chili

Black Bean Pumpkin Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili 2

This chicken chili is a winner every time. It is super easy to make, incredibly flavorful, and is totally adaptable to your preferences. You can add more veggies, more garlic, less chili powder, or even make it a turkey or beef version. Adjust the jalapenos however your heart desires also. You can leave out the seeds if you like things mild. I tend to lean towards extra spicy. That said, I do less “heat” any time I’m serving more than myself.

A more specific name for this chili is Pumpkin Black Bean Chicken Chili. I’ve been known to refer to it as my championship chicken chili too, but I digress.

Here are your initial ingredients, which I like to prep ahead. We’ve got onions, garlic, orange bell pepper, jalapeno, and pumpkin puree.
Chicken chili 1st ingredients

I start by sauteing the onion in canola oil, just softening them, then adding the garlic, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Next add the pumpkin, broth, and spices. Let it summer 20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, add your cooked chicken. Yum. You’re about to sit down and enjoy this winning chicken chili.

Backing up a bit, let’s talk pumpkin:

For the pumpkin, canned would work just fine but I prefer using fresh pumpkin whenever I can. Often in late October or early November I roast a pumpkin and freeze it. Sometimes it’s two pumpkins if I have them handy and the freezer space. Come the dead of winter, aka hot soup season, pumpkin is on hand. I thaw it on the stovetop and puree it with some of the chicken broth, Once it’s smooth, you’re good to go.

Let’s also chat about chicken:

I always add the chicken last so it doesn’t over-cook or toughen. With fresh chicken, I cook it separately and add it towards the end of the simmer time. More often however, I use a bag of Golden Plump pre-cooked chicken. It’s in the freezer section and is labeled as for stir fry. I just thaw it overnight (in the fridge of course), rough chop it, and add it during the last 10 minutes of the simmer time. Other chicken variations work too: shredded or even rotisserie.

When you’re ready to eat, ladle it into bowls. Garnish and enjoy!

By the way, I almost always use Greek yogurt these days instead of sour cream, but either are delicious. And I’m a huge cilantro fan, so my bowl typically looks like this!Chicken chili with cilantro

One other tip: if you watch your sodium intake, drain the black beans and tomatoes, and salt it yourself to taste. I do this whenever my mom visits as she likes almost no salt, and I’m not shy about using it.

This is a hearty soup I make often (in double batches) and freeze cooled portions in freezer bags for “fast food” on busy days. It makes things easy peasy as they say. I hope you like this recipe as much as I do.

Winner-Winner Chicken-Chili Dinner!


p.s. If you want another hot soup to keep you warm this winter, try this Peanut Butter Sweet Potato Chili if you haven’t already.


Chicken Pumpkin Black Bean Chili 

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 cups diced sweet onion (about 8 ounces)

4 large cloves garlic, minced, or to taste

1 1/2 cups chopped orange bell pepper (about 7 ounces)

4 cups chicken broth

2 pounds frozen roasted fresh pumpkin, about 4 cups (thawed, pureed creamy with the broth before using)

2 pounds cooked chicken breast, cubed

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, not drained

2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, not drained

1-2 tablespoons chili powder, to taste

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno, with seeds, or to taste

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt

1/2 cup loosely chopped cilantro


In large stockpot, heat canola oil to medium high and sauté the onion about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red bell pepper; sauté 1 more minute. Add the chicken broth, pumpkin, and chicken breast pieces. Then add black beans, diced tomato, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne, and jalapeno. Simmer 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Top with plain Greek yoghurt (about 1 ounce each), plus cilantro as garnish. Makes 8 servings, about 19 ounces each.

-Recipe from Cyndi Harles