Tuxedo Chili

January 25, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

It’s always nice to have a little twist on a classic, and mine is this creamy chicken chili with the added touch of black beans along with the white – that’s why I call it Tuxedo Chili. Plus, this version is simple to make and packed with flavor. —TheRunawaySpoon

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: TheRunawaySpoon is a food writer from Memphis Tennessee. Just being in the kitchen makes her happy!
WHAT: A complex, creamy white chili (with black beans -- hence, tuxedo!) that's quick enough for a weeknight meal.
HOW: Two cans of blended white beans add instant richness and body to a chili base of spiced ground chicken, corn, beans, and green chiles.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This chili comes together quickly from pantry staples you have on hand, but tastes like anything but -- your family and friends will wonder when you spent all that time in the kitchen! —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 (15) ounces cans great northern or canellini beans
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (16) ounces can black beans
  • 1 (16) ounces package frozen white shoepeg corn
  • 1 (4.5) ounces can chopped green chiles
  1. Chop the onion and garlic finely. Add to the oil in a large Dutch oven. Saute over medium high heat until soft and translucent. Do not brown. Remove the onions and garlic to a bowl and set aside. (If the onions brown and overcook, the final color of the chili will be muddy. It will still taste delicious, but won’t look as nice. You can always top it with lots of cheese). Add the ground chicken to the pan and cook until browning slightly, breaking it up into small pieces.
  2. Mix the oregano, cumin, chili powder, pepper and cinnamon in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the chicken. Add the onions and garlic. Pour in three cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until the water has reduced by half and the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, drain and rinse two cans of white beans. Place the beans in a blender with the chicken broth and puree until smooth. Drain and rinse the remaining white beans and the black beans. Pour the pureed beans into the chicken mixture, stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining drained beans, corn, and green chiles and simmer until cooked through and thickened, about 30 minutes.
  4. Serve in big bowls topped with grated cheese, sour cream and chopped cilantro.
  5. This will hold, cooled and covered, overnight and reheated before serving. It will also freeze beautifully.
Contest Entries

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  • Megan Town
    Megan Town
  • erinrae
  • juliunruly
  • Sarah Smith
    Sarah Smith
  • Plazma
I think I am like most people. Somewhere in the middle between food snob and food schlub. Just being in the kitchen makes me happy.

34 Reviews

Tina March 25, 2020
I just made this but instead of ground chicken, I used chicken thighs (diced of course) since that's what I had in the fridge. And because of the chicken thighs, the resulting stew/soup (wouldn't really call it a chili in my case) was actually very flavorful. Although I could have stopped there since it tasted quite good already, I rummaged through the freezer and found a half bag of frozen spinach. I added that, as well as half a container of Trader Joe's tomatillo salsa that was in the refrigerator.

Granted I made substitutions and gratuitous additions - the entirety of CA is in shelter-in-place so I'm making use of what food I have in the house - I'm enjoying it immensely.
Linda D. February 5, 2018
I prepared this dish for a pot luck and it was a big hit. I didn't have chicken broth in my pantry so I used water instead. Surprised and delighted that the water substitution did not affect the taste negatively. We reheated the left overs the next day and the flavors had approved. Thank you for this tasty recipe.
Renee B. August 24, 2015
I increased the garlic and spices as suggested by many but still found it bland. I added two cans of diced tomatoes, about 1 1/2 tsp of adobo sauce (we keep it frozen in baggies), a big handful of celery leaves chopped, 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey. My husband and I loved it. The grocery only had ground turkey which worked very well. I also used pinto beans instead of white since we like them and had many on hand. Hard to please everyone but with the adjustments, this is a keeper. Pureeing the beans is a great idea. Thanks for the great recipe base.
Nancy M. February 21, 2015
This was pretty bland and not at all complex. There are lots of better chili recipes available.
kzmccaff February 28, 2016
Agreed--I doubled the spices, used more onion and garlic, and still felt like the taste was flat--lots of taste at first, but no layered flavors, no complexity. Disappointing. I added some adobo and some brown sugar at the end after I realized how blah it was and that sort of helped, but not that much. Maybe if you used coffee/beer instead of the three cups of water? Hmm. Just not feeling this at all. Way better chili recipes out there.
kzmccaff February 28, 2016
I also doubled the green chiles
bonnie January 29, 2015
This was wonderful. Store was out of chicken so I used ground turkey. I don't like oregano so I left it out. Kids loved it too. Definitely will make it again.
jaba14 January 22, 2015
This one needed a lot of help. I had to triple the amount of herbs/spices used.
Megan T. January 1, 2015
So I intended to make this recipe as directed, but my grocery store was out of ground chicken, so I had to improvise. I substituted in ground beef and pretty much left the recipe as it called for. My husband and I like spicy food, so I doubled the green chiles to add more of a kick. We ended up stirring in some chipotle paste, which led us to believe that if you're going the ground beef route, it may just be better to put in 2-4 chipotles in adobo sauce from the beginning. Also, the cinnamon flavor was quite strong, so I'd scale this back the next time. All in all, a delicious recipe!
erinrae November 11, 2014
Just made this, never has chili been so good right off the bat! The second-day rule does not apply, although, that said, I can't wait to see how it is tomorrow. I used all chicken stock instead of part water, tripled the garlic, and was generous with my spice measuring (not far off the recipe, just a little more of each). I left out the oregano because I find it tends to dominate dishes. New favorite chili!
juliunruly March 9, 2014
I can't believe I haven't reviewed this recipe! I've made it about half a dozen times since discovering it, and it's become a must-have camping favorite within my group of friends. It takes some prep work before you leave (food processor, etc.), but it's the perfect camp dinner.

I use homemade chicken stock, fresh corn (it's in season during camping months!), cut back on the cinnamon, and add tapatio and very thinly sliced fresh jalapenos to the garnishes available.

I know it seems counterintuitive to make chili during the summer, when the fresh corn is available, but definitely try it if you're camping in an area where the nights are on the chillier side.
Scarlett L. January 6, 2014
I made this yesterday during the cold fronts of all cold fronts here in Missouri, and it was a divine. Like others, I amped the salt and pepper at end; a slightly heavier hand on the spices next time won't hurt either.
Sarah S. January 6, 2014
Cut down to 2 cans of canellini beans, 1 lb ground chicken (ground my own chicken breasts), and 8 oz of corn. I also added half of a chopped up butternut squash. Next time, I'd probably double the spices. We topped with sour cream, hot sauce, and shredded cheese.
Plazma October 27, 2013
I would say ground pork instead of chicken or turkey. Pork has much more flavor and will go really well with all the flavors that are in this chili. Or just do half chicken and half pork, so it will be like what the Japanese do when making stock for ramen broth.. having that chicken/pork blend.
Teresa W. February 15, 2013
This was excellent and came together quickly with loads of flavor. I used fresh jalapeno peppers along with some dried red pepper chili flakes instead of canned just because we were in a middle of a snow storm and that is what we had on hand. Also used ground turkey breast instead of chicken and it did not dry out, even after I reheated the dish a few times. The cilantro as a topping really brightened it up as well as a little lime. I also added extra corn and substituted greek yogurt for the sour cream, which no one really noticed. Pureeing the beans was worth the extra step, it made the chili luxuriously thick and heart-warming. Congrats and thank you, we will definitely be having this again!
borntobeworn January 29, 2013
Oh, man, was this good! I made this tonight (a vegetarian version: mushrooms instead of chicken, vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, twice the garlic, and 2 cans of green chilis). Although it's warm here today, this chili is to die for! We didn't have sour cream - I'll have to get some tomorrow to try with it.
RI C. January 4, 2013
Much more garlic, add fresh green and red peppers, cut down the meat by a fourth, use only chicken broth, triple the spice and add adobo, some cayenne and Tabasco, and fresh lime juice.
theletterc August 26, 2012
Inspiring recipe! I made this yesterday with a few alterations.

Regarding seasonings...
- I used homemade chili powder as well as low salt chicken broth, so I ended up almost doubling the chili powder and adding salt near the end.
- I also threw in a few pickled jalapenos and a dash of cayenne near the end as the heat level wasn't quite where I wanted it to be at... which is probably because:

- Rather than using ground chicken, I used 3 shredded chicken breasts since I have an aversion to ground meat in chili. I just made them earlier in the day by covering them with water in a baking dish in the oven. It worked to preheat the oven for corn muffins and gave the chili a lot of body.
- I also put in 2 roughly chopped poblanos in with the onion and garlic. This added a nicely bitter counterpart to the sweet corn.
WJCinNJ February 20, 2012
Made ths yesterday. All the while I was preparing i kept thinking it was not going to be at all what i wanted. too much liquid, not enough spice, etc. After cooking I let sit for a few hours and voila, it really all came together and was quite delicious. As was previously mentioned, it does not call for salt, so you will have to add to your taste. Good addition to the chili recipies I use.
BoulderGalinTokyo March 3, 2012
There's usually lots of salt in the canned beans, not to mention the chicken broth. We didn't miss it. My husband thought more "fire" than expected. Great recipe
Alyce M. February 18, 2012
I, too, wonder about the chili powder-- 1 1/2 tsp of ancho seems like a lot--but, additionally, there's no salt in this recipe. Makes me think the American sort of "chili powder" is the specified sort since there's often salt in it. Anyway: my real question is was salt left out by mistake or on purpose? Thanks!
Plazma October 27, 2013
Ancho isnt spicy at all, its made from a dried poblano which is very mild tasting for a chili pepper. not sure where you got Ancho from the recipe. I think everything needs salt in it. Without salt, things are just bland. Especially when you have 3 cups of water that has zero flavor to it.
allans February 11, 2012
I like a recipe with a simple ingredient list (especially now that I'm out of work).
This looks great and will try it.
Thanks for keeping it simple!
TheRunawaySpoon February 10, 2012
Thanks for all the nice congratulations! I love Food52ers. After a lot of warm weather herre this winter, this weekend is going to be a cold one so I'm looking all the chili recipes! Enjoy!