In The Kitchen - Ina's Chicken Chili

Chili isn’t usually one of my spring meals, but it hasn’t felt much like spring around here (you can still find piles of snow from our last snow storm). I always like to blog about what we are actually cooking and eating now, and now we are making Ina Garten’s Chicken Chili (Barefoot Contessa recipe below). This chili is a crowd pleaser and the added bonus is how good my house smells from cooking the onions and garlic. It’s also a great occasion to use my favorite Pillivuyt Classic White Soup Bowls - they're the perfect size. 

I made this chili on the last official day of winter. We were working on Cassandra’s Kitchen planning at my house, so there was kind of a lot going on. I did all of my chopping on Sunday, so I was ready ahead of time (kept everything in our plastic containers). This was the perfect recipe for the day because once I got it started I just let it cook and I could still chat and be in on conversation. We checked on its progress throughout the morning, but I wasn’t tied to the kitchen. Delicious, uncomplicated, and easily prepped - that is why I love it – and the smell of the onions cooking!

The chili sat on the stove throughout the day with people filling and refilling their bowls as they pleased. I don’t love a ton of spice, but you can always add more red pepper flakes or even hot sauce for heat. The kids love to add the tortilla chips and if I had a ripe avocado, I would have thrown that on top as well. This works well for our family because there aren’t any beans (not a ton of bean fans around here).

For this particular batch I used two store-bought rotisserie chickens instead of cooking the chicken myself. I just pulled all the meat from the chickens and kinda shredded it with a fork. It was a quick short cut that seemed to work out well. It probably isn’t as flavorful when I prepare the chicken myself but the chili still turned out great.

Yes, it really is even better the next day. The flavor just seeps into the chicken and it’s wonderful! Thanks to this recipe, I feel like we made the most of our last winter days. Let's hope warm weather is in store for us soon!



Ina's Chicken Chili


8 cups chopped yellow onions (6 onions)
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/4 cup minced garlic (8 cloves)
4 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
4 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
4 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves
8 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream


Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Copyright 2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved

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