Light and Quick White Chicken Chili

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
2 poblano chilis, seeded and finely diced
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
16 ounce can cannelini (or pinto) beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups precooked shredded chicken or 2 raw chicken breasts
juice of two limes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


If you’re using raw chicken, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Poach the chicken in the water for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and place in cold water for a few minutes before shredding. If you time it right, you can cook the chicken while preparing the rest of the soup. You will be tending to the chicken while the soup is cooking – instead of tending to them both at once.

Coat the bottom of a dutch oven with the oil and place over medium heat. Saute the onion and peppers until soft, about ten minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in the beans and broth.

If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend about half of the soup. You want the soup to thicken a bit, but still want to see whole beans, peppers, and onions, so don’t blend it all the way. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend about two cups of the soup in a regular blender and return it to the pot. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook about ten minutes. If you’re poaching your chicken, now is about the time it’s ready to drain, cool, and shred. Let your soup simmer as long as it takes to get the chicken ready – if it’s a bit longer than 10 minutes, no big deal.

Stir in the chicken, lime juice, and cilantro and cook until heated through. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve with shredded cheese and avocado.