Green Chicken Chili with Garbanzo Beans

This chili is somewhere between a soup and a stew. It is light and zippy thanks to the lean ground chicken and tangy tomatillos. It won’t weigh you down like traditional chili and it is perfect to make year round. I actually blogged this recipe 6 years ago and have been making it often ever since. I thought it was due for a re-post because it is oh so good!

You may know from some of my other posts (like my avocado and tomatillo rellish) that I LOVE tomatillos! They are so easy to cook with and add such great flavor to sauces, salsas, soups and stews. The only prep they need is removing the papery green husk and giving them a rinse in warm water to remove their sticky film. Don’t let their name fool you, they are not tomatoes…they are actually related to gooseberries!


Canned garbanzo beans make this dish fairly quick to prepare, but if you have the time to cook a pound of dried beans, it is even better! A Mexican beer adds great flavor but if you prefer to skip the beer, just add more chicken stock. This is a pretty mild chili so if you would like more heat, either double up on the jalapeños or add a serrano or two. The recipe makes 6 – 8 servings in my house (2 adults, 1 always hungry 15 year old boy, and a 12 year old boy). I like the extra servings because my boys will take it in a thermos for lunch…it is even BETTER the next day.

A quick sauté of chopped onion, garlic, poblano pepper, jalapeño, and canned green chilis are the start of this flavorful chili.

After browning the chicken and adding the seasonings, beer, stock and tomatillos, just put a lid on and let your Dutch oven work its magic. The tomatillos will break down and give this chili the most delicious sauce.

A little masa harina (Mexican corn flour) is added toward the end of cooking to thicken the chili. Masa is used to make corn tortillas and is easy to find near the regular flour. Bob’s Red Mill sells a small bag which is perfect to have around if you are only using it to thicken soups, stews, or chilis.

Serve your Green Chili with loads of garnishes! Sour cream, queso fresco, sliced jalapeños, julienned radishes, chopped green onion, avocado, and more fresh cilantro. Sometimes I will make a side of white rice to serve this with if I am in the mood…it is a great combo. A side of corn tortillas is a good addition as well!

Green Chicken Chili with Garbanzo Beans

Recipe by RhondaCourse: EntréeCuisine: Mexican




  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large or 2 small onions – chopped

  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped small

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced

  • 1-7oz can whole roasted green chilis (like Ortega) – seeds removed and chopped small

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 pounds ground chicken

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked, washed, and roughly chopped

  • 1-12 ounce Mexican beer (like Pacifico or Modelo Especial)

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 4 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 tablespoons masa harina (corn flour)

  • one bunch cilantro, chopped (reserve some for garnish)

  • juice of half a lime

  • Optional Garnishes: Sour cream, crumbled queso fresco, julienned radishes, chopped green onion, avocado, cilantro, and lime wedges.


  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and sauté the onion, poblano, jalapeño, green chilis and garlic for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked through, breaking it up into pieces with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the salt, cumin, coriander, tomatillos, beer, and chicken stock and mix well. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes on very low heat. Stir every 15 minutes or so.
  • Using a ladle, add about 1/2 cup of the liquid into a small bowl. Add the masa and whisk well with fork until completely combined. Add back to the stew along with the garbanzo beans and mix well. Bring back to a full simmer and let cook for 15 more minutes without the lid to reduce and thicken. Taste for seasoning…more salt may be needed.
  • Mix in the lime juice and cilantro and serve with optional garnishes and lime wedges.


  • Serve with white rice and corn tortillas if desired.

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