Is this the last soup you’ll make this season? I’ll leave it to you to decide! While I’m growing tired of red chili and stews, my Instant Pot chicken bone broth is still on rotation. Want one last soup adventure? Think brothy beans, roasted chicken, fresh tomatillos, and limes—it’s exactly how we want to eat right now. This recipe for green chicken chili is hopeful and heartwarming, and it’s a keeper until sweaters are no longer required.
Here in Minnesota, we still have feet of snow on the ground 😑. This reminds me, I had my last baby in an April snowstorm, and it’s why I never fall for spring’s weather tricks. While my daughter’s arrival and subsequent birthdays are my cautionary tale to NEVER discount Minnesota’s ability to provide April snow, this chili (soup?) is a pick-me-up meal for my end-of-winter appetite. Yes, we love it in the fall to finish up garden tomatillos. And yes, I want it now with its bright and spring-green ingredients.
While I first made a green chili from a mix of canned tomatillos and green chilis, I don’t see that can of tomatillos available in stores anymore. But one day, while roasting tomatillos for these green chili tacos, I knew I wanted this fresh flavor in a soup. While chili is the official name for this bowl, it’s made with a recipe of my bone broth for extra savory satisfaction. It’s nourishing, tasteful, and spicier with added fresh jalapenos or cooled off and creamy if you stir in a little sour cream. It’s the perfect one-bowl dinner; we can’t get enough.
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Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this green chicken chili:
- 2.5 lbs fresh tomatillos
- 1 head of garlic
- 1-2 fresh jalapeños
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 fresh limes
- 1 can of green chiles
- 8 cups of instant pot bone broth or ANY chicken or vegetable broth
- pantry items: olive oil, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper
- 2 large bone-in chicken breasts – about 2-3 cups of cooked chicken pieces
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The easiest way to prep this recipe for green chicken chili:
The first step in making this recipe for green chicken chili is to prep the parts. There is a French culinary concept called mise en place. Julia, Ina, and anyone you’ve ever seen do a cooking excerpt on t.v. practices mise en place. It’s for a good reason, not just for the show or professional kitchens! Cook like you are on a cooking show. It’s one of my first lessons when teaching how to make delicious food with success!
Here’s why mise en place is essential for cooking at home!
- It requires you to be thorough and read your recipe! You catch the extra details when you read through an entire recipe to ensure all parts are prepped or noted. This is the number #1 mistake I see when a recipe doesn’t turn out. Oh, how often have I found myself on step 4, realizing a portion needed to sit overnight, or suddenly the chopped herbs I need are still in the crisper?
- Timing in recipes is clutch for recipe success! When all ingredients are chopped, measured, or ready to measure (like tablespoons and teaspoons set out next to ingredients), something like 30 seconds of sauteing garlic before adding broth is possible and seamless when all parts are ready to go.
- Clean-up happens while you cook! When I prep everything ahead of time, I use the same knife for similar tasks, and I am more apt to clean up before moving on to the next step. This is helpful when making multiple recipes in a day (prep all the onions at once, for example) and keeping the kitchen tidy as I go.
- Having every ingredient in place is 100% satisfying! I cannot understate the positive feedback I receive when a board is full of prepped fresh ingredients before cooking. This sense of accomplishment is what our brains need (hello, mine!🙋🏻♀️) when creating new habits and connecting to the food that nourishes us.
Recipe for Green Chicken Chili: Frequently Asked Questions
While I’ve never skipped fresh tomatillos entirely, I have used green salsa to reach about 3 cups of roasted tomatillos if I’m a little short. I would definitely try it with a good green salsa if I couldn’t find tomatillos.
Every broiler is different, so watch them closely. If your garlic is getting black or dark fast, but is still hard inside, move the pan to a lower level or turn them over. You want them soft on the inside and will be taking off the paper coating. If your tomatillos start to blacken, that is your signal to also move them down a rack, flip them over and keep roasting until just softened and juicy. Your blender should puree a little dark spot or two, but you don’t want them all blackened.
Yes, you can freeze most soups and chilies, including this recipe for green chicken chili. My suggestion is no longer than 3-4 months. If this soup feels too big for your crowd, it is easy to divide the recipe in half. If you make a whole batch of my Instant Pot Bone Broth and only use half, it freezes well! Bone broth is usually good for up to 6 months or even up to a year in a deep freeze if you don’t end up sipping it sooner!
With no further ado, here’s your last winter soup recipe to brighten (and warm) your day!
Recipe for Green Chicken Chili
- 2 bone-in and skin on chicken breasts halves (1 whole), about 1.5-2 lbs total. If you substitute a different cooked chicken, you can add about 2 cups of shredded or bite-size pieces.
- 2-3 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Roast tomatillos and garlic cloves
- 2.5 lbs tomatillos husked and rinsed If you can't find tomatillos, you can skip roasting them and substitute an 11 oz can for each pound, so 2-3 cans for the whole recipe.
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 fresh jalapeño pepper (optional)
Prep soup Ingredients
- 1 1/2 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 8 cups good quality chicken broth or my bone broth: recipe for my Instant Pot Bone Broth
- 3 15-oz cans white navy or northern beans rinsed and drained
- 1 4-oz can green chiles
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 avocado sliced optional
- 4 tortillas – We love Siete almond flour tortillas, sautéed in oil until crisp and cut into strips.
- 1 jalapeño pepper – See note above about additional jalapeño pepper.
How to roast chicken:
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Pour olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet and turn the chicken breasts all around on both sides to coat the chicken and pan with oil. Wash your hands.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the oiled chicken and, then, taking clean hands, rub the salt and pepper into the chicken.
- Roast chicken for 40-45 minutes, depending on the size of the breast. At about 40 minutes, you can use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. I pull my chicken out at 160-163°and let it sit as it will continue to cook. Chicken is done at 165°.
- When the chicken has cooled enough to touch, discard the skin and de-bone the chicken by pulling the meat away from the bones with your hands. Cut off any edges or cartilage pieces that sometimes line the edge. Pull the chicken into bite-sized pieces with two forks, hands, or cut it into pieces as you like.
How to roast tomatillos, garlic, and optional jalapeño pepper:
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Peel, de-stem, rinse, and dry tomatillos. Then slice them all in half.
- Pull apart the head of garlic into cloves, leaving the clove papers on but discard all the outer pieces and scraps.
- If using jalapeño pepper, cut into chunks or leave whole.
- On a baking sheet, lay halved tomatillos cut side down. On one end of the baking sheet, set unpeeled garlic cloves and jalapeño if using.
- Broil for 15-20 minutes total. Turn all the vegetables as soon as the tops start to bubble and get dark brown. Turn tomatillos when the outer skin starts to darken but not blacken. Check the oven every 5 minutes to do this.
- If garlic is browned on all sides, remove from oven and return the tomatillos and pepper until there are dark spots and vegetables are fully softened.
- Let vegetables cool. If using jalapeño, run it under cold water to remove all the seeds. I like to use compostable gloves, so the spice does not rub off on my hand.
- When all the vegetables are cooled slightly, scrape the pan of tomatillos with the pan juices into the blender. Pop roasted and softened garlic out of its papers with a pinch and add the insides to the blender. Add half of the jalapeño and puree.
- Taste to decide if you want to add more jalapeño. The broth will dilute the spice, but if you are making soup for kids or spice-sensitive eaters, it's good not to start will the whole jalapeño. Save roasted pepper to chop and serve as a garnish.
- Add the juice of 1 lime and pulse to fully mix the sauce until all the ingredients are fully pureed. If you have a high-powered blender, liquefying will only take a few seconds.
- Next, add broth, tomatillo sauce, a can of green chilies, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and drained beans. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
- When the ingredients have simmered, add chicken and continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes to saturate your chicken with flavor and all the ingredients to meld together. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with sour cream, tortillas strips, jalapeños, and a squeeze of lime.
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