So, I know it isn’t chili season right now.
But hear me out.
Cinco de Mayo is coming, and I’m thinking about things we can make for our at-home festivities (sigh) that may help you cook from the pantry.
Chili is an awesome meal to cook when you’ve got lots of canned goods to use up.
It typically uses canned beans, canned tomatoes, spices, onion, garlic, and broth. All things you may have and not know what to do with.
Plus, we need something to eat alongside that insane cornbread I shared earlier this week. This chili is spicy and smoky, and the sweetness of that cornbread goes amazingly with these flavors.
Also, it’s been really chilly here this week! Like, in the 30s at night! So, in my book, chili is totally still appropriate. And if you don’t agree, save this recipe for the fall! It won’t disappoint either way.
I make chili all fall and winter long, and like I said, even though we’re edging in on May right now, I still think this works for a Cinco de Mayo party (again, an AT HOME one). It’s flavored with beer (hey, it’s a party already!), lots of warming spices, peppers, and beans. And the result is just a big ol’ bowl of comfort.
And I don’t think many people would turn that down right now, right? Especially because this recipe makes a big pot of chili which could be enjoyed for several days – meals like this are EVERYTHING right now. I feel like all I do is cook and clean the kitchen, cook and clean the kitchen, and repeat. I can’t wait to eat out again, haha. Meals that do double or triple duty are a godsend at the moment.
The thing I love the most about this chili is the chicken. I use boneless, skinless chicken things (my absolute fave cut of chicken, by the way) and cook them in the chili until they fall apart and shred super easily. It’s like pulled chicken! In our chili!
For all you fellow texture freaks out there, this is a winner. There is something extra special about the texture of shredded or pulled meat. It sort of makes things taste extra luxurious or special, right? Like, when I know I’ve taken the time to shred or pull the meat, rather than just dice it up, it feels like I’ve really accomplished something. Made something extra. Am I the only one?
I like to add a little beer to this chili solely for depth of flavor. It adds a richness that you just can’t get from anything else. That said, if you don’t want or can’t have beer in your chili, feel free to sub in extra broth. It will still be delicious! I like a lighter beer here, as I find that darker beers tend to get bitter if you cook them for a long time. You don’t want the whole pot of chili to taste like beer, so going with something on the lighter side will keep things subtle.
Once this simmers away on the stove for a bit, all that’s left to do is prep your toppings and make margaritas! For toppings, I love sour cream or Greek yogurt to cut some of the spice, sliced avocado (duh), fresh scallions, fresh herbs, and a honkin’ slice of lime to spritz over everything. The lime juice always takes things to the next level. It’s so simple but adds so much.
And seriously, don’t forget that margarita. It IS Friday, after all.
Cheers to the weekend, friends! I hope your weekend is full of relaxation, fun, and chili!
Smoky Beer Pulled Chicken Chili
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
This Smoky Beer Pulled Chicken Chili is a super flavorful version of chili that uses up a good amount of pantry staples. It’s flavored with beer, peppers, and smoky spices and is loaded with pulled chicken and beans. Hearty, healthy, and delicious!
- 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
- 3 teaspoons ancho chili powder (any chili powder will work)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (12-oz) beer (I like something lighter in color and flavor)
- 1 (15-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- ½ cup jarred salsa (any kind will work – I love salsa verde)
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Options for Serving:
- Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- Diced scallions
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Sliced jalapenos
- Diced or sliced avocado
- Lime wedges
- Tortilla chips
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper and add to the hot oil.
- Cook for 2 minutes per side, just to develop a golden brown crust. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside on a plate (it will not be fully cooked at this point).
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic, peppers, and a pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes to soften the veggies.
- Add the spices and tomato paste and stir well to combine. Cook for another minute.
- Stream in the beer, scraping up the sides and bottom of the pan to pick up any brown bits that may have formed. Bring the beer to a simmer and cook until it is mostly reduced, about 2 minutes.
- Add in the remaining ingredients along with some salt and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low so that the liquid is simmering.
- Add the chicken thighs back into the pot, along with any juices that may have collected on the plate.
- Simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently, or until everything is slightly thickened and the chicken is fall-apart tender. Shred the chicken right in the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as needed.
Serve the chili hot and garnished however you prefer. I love a dollop of sour cream/yogurt, chopped scallions, jalapenos, avocado, and lime juice.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: soup
Keywords: smoky beer pulled chicken chili, pulled chicken chili, beer chicken chili, healthy and hearty chili recipe, recipes using pantry staples
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