When most of us think of chili we don't think of chicken ... and we certainly don't think of pumpkin! However, this recipe for White Bean Pumpkin Chicken Chili is just what the doctor ordered. It's warming, can be spicy if you want, and is full of nutrition!
White Bean Pumpkin Chicken Chili
A great bit of flavor is contributed to White Bean Pumpkin Chicken Chili using Hatch chiles.
Are you familiar with Hatch chiles? The name is actually a generic name for the peppers grown in the Hatch Valley region of New Mexico, which is referred to as the Chili Capital of the World. Hatch chile fans look forward to the harvest every year in the late summer/early fall.
I can usually find them each year so I grill them and preserve them in the freezer. You can also find them canned and sometimes in the freezer section. If you can't find them at all, you can substitute poblanos, or even anaheim.
Three ways to char Hatch chiles:
- Broil them under the oven broiler on a baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet, turning occasionally until blackened, about 8-10 minutes.
- Put them on a very hot grill, turning consistently until they are blackened.
- If you have a gas stove, put them right on the grate over the flame and turn them as they blacken.
Let's build the White Bean Pumpkin Chicken Chili.
Cook the chicken pieces till they are almost cooked through and starting to take on some color. After the chicken has cooked, add the onions and cook till they are starting to get soft, 10-15 minutes.
Then add the garlic and Hatch chiles and finally, the chili powder, cumin, and oregano. It gets really fragrant about now!
After adding the pumpkin puree and broth, let the soup simmer until the onions are fully cooked. Finally add the beans and allow it to warm through.
What kind of beans should I use?
There are so many kinds of white beans! I prefer a smaller bean to a large one and use great northern beans and navy beans interchangeably. As usual, I soak dried beans and cook them ahead of time, but you can use canned beans, of course.
I highly recommend Eden Organics brand not only because they presoak their beans before canning, but also because they use the safest cans available in terms of the cans' lining.
How to serve White Bean Pumpkin Chicken Chili
It hardly needs much to improve on its flavor, but if you want a bit more heat, jalapenos are a good idea. And as always, a squeeze of lime juice brightens it up. I don't usually add sour cream or cheese, but I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to!
White Bean Pumpkin Chicken Chili
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into thin 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 fresh, roasted Hatch chiles, chopped or 1 small (4-ounce) can
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- Salt to season
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 15-ounce cans of white beans (great northern or navy beans) rinsed and drained or 4 cups home-cooked beans (this is about a pound dried)
- 1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin or 2 cups fresh roasted pumpkin
- lime wedges for serving
- chopped cilantro for serving
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until slightly browned and cooked through.
- Add the onions and allow to cook till barely translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, cook for about 30 seconds, then add the Hatch chiles.
- Sprinkle the spices over and stir to combine.
- Pour the chicken broth in, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Add the pumpkin and stir to incorporate. Heat over medium-low to medium heat until the onion is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.
- If you are serving immediately, add the beans and heat till warm. If you are serving later, leave the soup on simmer and add the beans to warm just before serving.
- Serve with lime wedges and cilantro.