Frost on the windows, frost on my toes, Old Man Winter is definitely getting close to my door.  When the cold chill sets in, I love making soups to warm my bones, since it seems no number of sock-layers will bring the feeling back into my “little piggies”, but a steamy bowl of hearty soup always does the trick.  This is a favorite of mine because it’s easily done in the slow-cooker to be ready after a long day out in the elements, or whipped up quickly on the stovetop whenever you feel a craving.  Green chilies and hominy add an authentic Mexican flavor, and a little white wine and a squeeze of lime bring a tangy brightness not found in most classic chili recipes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 large white onion (about 2 cups), diced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (optional)
  • 1-1.5 lb. whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 T. salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1T. chili powder
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 2 t. dried oregano, crushed in your palm
  • 1/2 t. cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 6-8 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 2 cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans great northern beans
  • 1-2 cans white hominy, drained
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • One 7-oz. can chopped green chilies
  • Lime wedges

First, place the chicken broth, wine, chicken breasts, green chilies, garlic, 1 T. salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne into your slow-cooker and turn on high.  Allow the chicken to poach until it reaches 160 degrees internally*.  Remove the chicken from the pot, allow it to cool until you can safely handle it, and shred (or dice) into bite-size pieces.  Add the chicken back into the pot.

While the chicken is poaching, prepare the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno (if you chose to use one).  I like to, first, sauté them in a little olive oil and salt until they are lightly caramelized.  If you’d like to make it a true one-pot dish, you can skip this step and add the veggies straight to the crock-pot, but the caramelization adds a lot of flavor to your finished chili.

Once the shredded/diced chicken and veggies are in the pot, add the beans, hominy, and chickpeas.  Leave the pot on high for an hour or two and then turn to low until serving.  Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze on top, and some baked tortilla chips for some crunch.

*I used frozen chicken breasts and poaching took about 3 hours in my slow-cooker.

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