Southwest Chicken Chili

This southwest chicken chili is FABULOUS! I love the switch up of chicken instead of ground beef. It’s flavorful and pretty darn healthy too!

Papa Joe’s is this posh gourmet market here in Southeast Michigan. They only have two locations and they just opened a third mini-market sort-of-thing inside the concourse of our hospital last year. So far I’m loving their soups, salads and I’ve been especially in love with this chicken chili of theirs for the past month. I can’t get enough of it, I swear to you, I eat it every single day I’m working and dream about it at night. I even cry a little if they’re not serving it on a day I’m there. No joke.

Since I only work three days a week, and I was off for a long weekend, it got me thinking. I want that chili. I wasn’t about to drive 30 minutes to the nearest Papa Joe’s and I was definitely not driving up to the hospital for a bowl… so instead I made my own. Southwest style.

Papa Joe’s chicken chili doesn’t have corn or jalapenos in it… so it isn’t really a total recreation. But heck, I rather like the corn addition; it adds a little extra texture and sweetness that I like. Oh and for those that fear the jalapeno… please don’t omit it, just remove the seeds and ribs so it won’t be spicy, just really good flavor. And pleeeeeeeease remember to wash your hands after handling the jalapeno… because when you forget to, is the time you’re talking to the neighbor lady and itch your eye, then you’re eye starts to burn like H-E-double-hockey-sticks and you wanna curl into a fetal position and cry like a big ol’ baby, but you can’t because you talking to the NEIGHBOR LADY!! True story… and I don’t want a repeat. Ever.

Start by dicing up a medium green pepper, one medium onion, one jalapeno {seeds and ribs removed} and two cloves of garlic.

Drain and rinse two cans of pinto beans and set aside.

In a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat, melt the three tablespoons of butter.

Throw in the peppers, onions, jalapeno and garlic. Cook until the peppers and onions are just beginning to soften.

Toss in the cumin and ancho chili pepper.

Oh! and the flour too!

Mix until the flour has completely absorbed the butter and cook for only a minute.

Add in some chicken broth.

Then some whole milk or heavy cream.

I add in a few heaping tablespoons of tomato paste and stir to get that all dissolved.

Next add the beans and shredded chicken.

Stir and thin it out with a little more chicken broth.

Then add in the corn, ya know… for a little corniness.

Season with two and a half teaspoons of kosher salt. I know what you’re thinking, it sounds like a lot. But go ahead and taste it after one teaspoon and then adjust to you’re taste buds.

Give it a good stirring…

Cover and cook for 45 minutes, then uncover for the last 15 minutes.

Ohhh… it’s good. I love the switch up of chicken instead of ground beef. It’s flavorful and pretty darn healthy too! Now if you’ll please forgive me, because I’m about to change that! Ps… if you look real close at my spoon you’ll see me upside-down. weeeeird.

I highly, HIGHLY recommend a large dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt on your bowl of Southwest Chicken Chili. I ended up crushing corn tortilla chips and sprinkled them in while I ate! Ohmylord. My daughters sprinkled pepper jack cheese in there bowls, and my husband put Cholula in his.


Luckily for me this Southwest Chicken Chili makes a lot and is excellent the next day. And the day after that…


Enjoy! And if you give this Southwest Chicken Chili recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Southwest Chicken Chili

Yield: serves 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


3-4 cups Cooked Chicken, shredded {rotisserie works really well in this recipe}

2 cans Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup Corn

1 medium Green Pepper, diced

1 medium Onion, diced

1 Jalapeno, diced small {seeds and ribs removed}

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

3 tablespoons Flour

4 teaspoons Ancho Chili Powder

2 teaspoons Cumin

2-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt {more or less to taste}

2 tablespoons Tomato Paste

3-4 cups Chicken Broth

3/4 cup Whole Milk or Heavy Cream

optional for serving:

Sour Cream

Cilantro, torn

Tortilla Chips, crushed

Pepper Jack Cheese


In a dutch oven sauté the green pepper, onions, jalapenos and minced garlic in three tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat.

Once soft, season with the ancho chili powder and cumin. Sprinkle with the flour and stir until the flour is absorbed and cook for one minute.

Add in one cup chicken broth and the 3/4 cup milk {or cream} stir and bring to a simmer. Stir in two tablespoons tomato paste.

Add in the drained beans, shredded chicken and corn. Stir and in more broth {as needed}. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour over medium-low, then remove the lid and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, torn cilantro and crushed corn tortilla chips.

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