Hello, welcome friends! Today we are making what may seem like the perfect cold-weather comfort food. And it is! But in my opinion, a good chili is great for every season. This pot of beans, tomato and chicken only needs to simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, so it’s a quick cook and it’s pretty much hands off. We are starting with leftover smoked chicken, but you can use a store bought rotisserie chicken – and with the addition of liquid smoke, you won’t be missing out on the smoked chicken flavor. Which, really makes this chili different. It feels more like summer chili, if you will; with the flavors of summertime barbecue. Let’s do this Smoked Chicken Chili!
The most time consuming part of this recipe is pulling the cooked chicken from the carcass. Once that’s done, the rest is quick and easy. I have 2 cans of Cannelini beans, about 1/2 cup of chicken stock, half of a large red onion, and one 28-ounce can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes.
Building the Chili
In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, toss in the chicken. and while it’s heating through, dice up the onion and toss it in with the chicken. Then add the whole can of crushed tomatoes.
Stir this all together to combine well and add the beans.
Since the chicken is already smoked and seasoned, we will start with basic chili seasoning and then taste throughout the cooking time and adjust as needed. So, add two teaspoons cumin. Then add a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, about 1.5 teaspoons chili powder or smoked paprika, and a good pinch of fresh cracked black pepper. If you are adding liquid smoke, add a dash at a time and continually taste during the 30 minute cook time and add more to your liking. It can be strong, so go slowly – don’t be too heavy handed. We want a light, but clear smoke flavor.
Stir in the seasonings, add the chicken stock or broth and bring to a good simmer. Reduce the heat to low and just let it go, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes, until it’s thickened a bit. Taste frequently and adjust accordingly. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add a teaspoon each of garlic salt and celery salt. I have to say, I went a little rogue with the celery salt, I bet you didn’t expect to see celery salt in a chili recipe. But after tasting in that last 10 minutes, I felt there was a little something lacking…I suppose I could have added lime juice to brighten it up, but something about the celery salt just seemed right. And wow! It really punched this chili up to a more complex savoriness.
Topping Your Chili
Top your Smoked Chicken Chili with your favorite toppings; I have cilantro, sliced scallion greens, diced avocado and sour cream.
This is chili, so it’s hearty, for sure. But since we are using chicken instead of beef, it’s lighter. The flavor from the smoke comes through in a nice, subtle way. We have the traditional chili flavor of cumin, spice from the chili powder and red pepper flakes, the celery salt really gives it a savory vegetal note that isn’t screaming CELERY! but just gives it a little something extra.
I do hope you try this summery, Smoked Chicken Chili! Reach out on Instagram and let me know if you make it! If you’re a chili-purist, try my Instant Pot Chili, it’s perfect for when the weather gets a little chillier! 🙂 Take care and be well everyone, xo Kelly
Smoked Chicken Chili
Smoked Chicken Chili is a summer-chili; hearty, yet lighter than beef chili, with a smoky flavor that hints at summertime barbecue.
- 1 Smoked Chicken (or a Rotisserie Chicken), meat pulled from carcass
- 1/2 Large Onion, diced
- 2 cans Cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 28-ounce can of Crushed San Marzano Tomatoes
- 2 tsp. Cumin.
- Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 1.5 tsp. Chili Powder or Smoked Paprika
- A pinch of Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- If you are adding liquid smoke, add a dash at a time and taste during the 30 minute cook time and add more to your liking.
- 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
- 1 tsp. Garlic Salt
- 1 tsp. Celery Salt
- Topping Ideas
- Diced Avocado
- Sour Cream
- Scallion Greens
- Queso Fresco
- Mexican Crema
- Salsa Verde
- Cotija Cheese
Over medium heat, add the pulled chicken to a Dutch oven or large pot.
Add the onions, crushed tomatoes and beans.
Stir to combine and add the cumin, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire, chili powder and cracked black pepper.
Stir to combine and add the chicken stock. Add liquid smoke, if using. Bring to a simmer and reduce temperature to low.
Simmer and stir occasionally for about 30 minutes. Taste chili during the 30 minutes for seasoning. Add more liquid smoke if desired.
In the last 10 minutes of simmering, add garlic salt and celery salt, stir to combine and taste again for seasoning. Add more of anything you like.
Chili is ready at the 30 minute mark, or when it has reduced and thickened a bit.
Serve hot, with favorite toppings.