Chicken Chili with Navy Beans

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This chili is lighter than classic chili but flavorful. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken; try it with corn muffins or on a soft tortilla topped with baby greens and salsa.

Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 4 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together, game day

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Textureherby, hot & spicy, meaty, savory, spiced

Type of Dishsoup


  • 1 cup dried navy beans, picked over and rinsed, or about 2 cups canned navy beans
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced, with seeds
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • One 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 12 ounces beer
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and chopped


  1. If using dried beans, quick-cook them: Place the beans in a large pot with water to cover by 3 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, rinse, and set aside.

  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook about 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until the onion has softened. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more, stirring constantly.

  3. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and basil and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

  4. Add the broth, tomatoes, beer, Worcestershire sauce, chicken, beans (if using canned beans, see note in step 5), and cornmeal and stir to mix well.

  5. Add the salt and pepper, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 1½ hours, uncovered, until the beans are tender and the flavors have developed. (Note: If using canned beans, add them at this point and cook about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.) Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro and scallions.

  6. Variations: Turkey can be substituted for the chicken. Or use leftover beef or pork or a combination of the two. Make this a “green chili” by using chopped tomatillos (fresh or canned) instead of chopped tomatoes. Any kind of bean can be used; at Foster’s, we often make this with pinto, kidney, or lima beans. Roasted jalapeños or chipotles (for a smoky flavor) can be used instead of fresh jalapeños.


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