Green Chicken Chili

Tomatillos are not as common an ingredient here in Canada as they are south of the border, but they are an essential part of Mexican cuisine and utterly delicious. They are related to Cape gooseberries, and bear some similarities in appearance and taste with their papery husks and citrusy notes. I absolutely love them, and usually pair them with roast chicken to make enchiladas.

Roast or poached chicken would be an excellent (and more traditional) substitution for the ground chicken in this recipe, but ground was what I had, and everybody loved it.

I have used yellow green beans and yellow zucchini here in a somewhat gimmicky attempt at a monochromatic colour palette, but I couldn’t find yellow tomatoes. The red ones were delicious, just warmed and barely softened, rather than truly cooked.

Green Chicken Chili

A lighter, summery version of chili to celebrate the season.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Canadian, chilli, Latin-inspired, Tex-Mex
Keyword: chili, green chili, tomatillos
Servings: 8


  • One large skillet.
  • One rimmed baking sheet.
  • Parchment paper.
  • Large colander.


  • 2 medium red or yellow onions
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano or epazote
  • 1 tbsp hot Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 4 whole poblano peppers
  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 2 dozen tomatillos
  • 1 zucchini
  • ½ lb yellow beans
  • 4 yellow tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto bean
  • 1 can navy or cannellini beans
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips
  • green onions, minced
  • avocado


  • Preheat oven to broil. Rinse and pat dry poblano peppers. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place peppers in oven.
  • Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them in a colander over the sink. Place them whole in the pan with the poblanos. Turn poblanos over, making sure they are blackening evenly.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes to check on thhe roasting vegetables. Removes poblanos when they are blackened on all sides. When the tomatillos are blackened on top and softened throughout, remove the tray from the oven and set aside.
  • Dice onions. Core, seed, and mince jalapeño pepper, and add to the onions. Mince the garlic cloves and add in.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over low heat. Sauté the onion mixture until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cumin, Mexican oregano and paprika to the onion mixture and stir, sautéing until fragrant.
  • Wash cilantro carefully, especially if it seems gritty. Place leaves aside, mince the stems, then add them to the pan. Add the canned green chiles and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove your aromatics to a bowl, and set aside. Add the other tbsp of olive oil to the pan and raise the heat to medium high.
  • Add the ground chicken to the skillet, stirring until all pink is gone and brown bits start to appear.
  • Return the aromatics to the skillet and stir into the ground chicken, turning heat back down to medium low. Add beans, stock and salt and leave to simmer.
  • Peel blackened skins from the poblano peppers, then remove seeds (most of them, don't worry too much) and stems. Chop into fine bits and add to the pan. Using your hands, grab each tomatillo and squish it, then drop it into the pan. Once you've finger-mashed them all, stir them in, along with the considerable amount of pan juices they've released, and continue to simmer on low for about 15 minutes.
  • Mince zucchini and chop beans, and add them in, cooking until just tender.
  • Mince tomatoes, (yellow if you can find them!) and add, stirring until just softened. You're good to go! Top with the reserved cilantro leaves and some fresh squeezed lime, as well as any other toppings you desire: green onions, sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips.


If you have the time to cook your own beans from scratch, do so by all means. They are always better. 
And you can absolutely omit the chicken for a vegetarian version, swapping out the stock with veggie stock or water. I would add a (well-rinsed!) half a cup of quinoa along with the beans in that case. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Tea sommelier, love to cook AND bake. Soups are my go-to comfort food and I rely on an excess of garlic in almost everything but dessert. I review Canadian cookbooks for those who want to know which to gift or buy for your own collection.

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