Recipes // Soups // Beck Chicken Chili

Beck Chicken Chili


By Courtney Allison and Julie Peacock


  • 2 3-pound chickens (6 cups shredded, cooked chicken or, to speed things up, rotisserie chickens work just fine, too)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 14 cups cooked kidney beans (from 2 pounds dried), cooking liquid reserved, or 8 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups tomato juice (if using canned beans instead of dried)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
  • Herbed queso fresco
  • 1 16-ounce bag tortilla chips (i like blue corn)
  • 4 avocados


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°f.
  2. Place the chickens on a large roasting pan and roast for 50 to 60 minutes, until the juices run clear. Let cool and remove the skin and bones. Shred the chicken and set aside. (may be made up to 2 days in advance.)
  3. Heat the oil in the stockpot and add the garlic, onions, bell and jalapeño peppers, and 1 tablespoon of the salt. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the beans plus 6 cups of reserved bean liquid to the onion mixture. If using canned beans, add 4 cups water and 2 cups tomato juice for a total of 6 cups liquid. Stir in the parsley, cilantro, diced tomatoes, and the remaining tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour, loosely covered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more reserved bean liquid or water if the mixture becomes too dry.
  5. Add the shredded chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper

Chedder Cornbread


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place an ungreased 12-inch cast-iron pan in the oven for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt 7 tablespoons of the butter and add the cream cheese and cheddar. Stir slowly over low heat until creamy and combined.
  4. Add the cheese and butter mixture to the dry ingredients, then pour in the milk-and-egg mixture. Stir to combine but don't overstir. The batter should be thick but pourable.
  5. Using potholders and being careful not to burn yourself, carefully remove the pan from the oven and drop the remaining tablespoon of butter into the hot pan. Tilt the pan around until the butter melts and coats the bottom. Immediately pour in the batter, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean. Let the cornbread cool in the pan, or serve while still warm.
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