White chicken chili is a nice, and lighter, change of pace from the traditional pot of beef chili. But let’s face it, it can get pretty boring. This chicken chili recipe, while not quite “white”…more orange, is the change up you and your taste buds are looking for. It’s still a healthier chili choice but with heat, sweet and tang this chicken chili recipe will brighten up the coldest and darkest days of winter.
I would like to take full credit for the idea of habañero mango chicken chili, but I can’t. (Although the recipe is mine.) For years, Craig and I would visit this chili shop, in Encino (yes…that’s “the Valley” as in Valley Girls), called Chili My Soul. The owner, Randy, had 12 – 13 homemade chili’s on the menu board everyday. Each chili recipe took 3 days to make and you could taste every second and ounce of love and attention that went into making them. And it was actually healthy chili.
One day I stopped in to pick up some of our favorite chili only to see the shop empty and closed. I stood there for several minutes trying to wrap my head around the situation. His shop was known the World over (no exaggeration) and had people driving for several hours to buy his chili. I popped into the deli next door to find out what was going on. It was then that I learned that Randy had passed away and his sister didn’t want to run the business, so she closed it down.
I was heartbroken, but I knew Craig and our dog would be more heartbroken than I. Craig and Rizzo have a love affair with Randy’s habañero mango chicken chili recipe. On the shop’s heat scale, this one was a 10 out of 10. Yes, our dog LOVES anything hot and spicy and no, it doesn’t affect her digestive system in any way shape or form. When I would walk in the house with a bag of this stuff, Rizzo would immediately sit down and start drooling. (She’s not really a drooler…so we knew there was something special about this chili).
The time had finally come when I needed to try and re-create Randy’s habañero mango chicken chili. And the time was now.
As the title of this recipe suggests, it does contain habañero peppers. But don’t let that scare you off. I’m a royal wuss when it comes to eating spicy stuff and this really isn’t too awful spicy. Plus, when you add the sour cream it helps a lot. The peppers actually give the chili recipe a lot of flavor. Yes, hot and spicy peppers can add flavor and not just throat scorching heat.
The base of this chili recipe comes from a mango habanero sauce recipe that I found on Melissa’s Produce site, but changed up a bit. I then proceeded to scrape the dark recesses of my brain to remember the flavor of that mango chicken chili we so loved. Scraping the dark recesses of my brain is like finally having to clean out that crisper drawer of your fridge. I find similar things in my brain, that are commonly found in the corners of those drawers, and am filled with the same amount of dread leading up to the chore.
I’ll admit that making this chicken chili takes a bit of time, not 3 days, but is totally worth it. It starts with the making of the hot sauce recipe (quick), then moves on to a crock pot recipe and finally a trip to the stove top. You could omit the stove top part, if you’re really strapped for time or just can’t keep your face out of the crock pot. But the stove top cooking helps to cook out the excess liquid and concentrating the flavors – so it’s really recommended.
You’re really going to want to make up a pot of this orange goodness. I’m betting that this might even make an appearance at your Super Bowl party this year. I know it’s going to be at ours.
Sometimes it really pays to do that thing you really don’t want to do.
Recipe: The Other White Chicken Chili: Habañero Mango Chicken Chili Recipe
For Hot Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1 Cup Mango Chunks
- 1 Medium Onion (chopped)
- 2 Fresh Habanero Chili’s (de-stemmed)
- 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Cup Ketchup
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
For Chicken Chili
- 5 Cups Mango Chunks
- 4 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 2 Medium Onions (sliced thin)
- 1 Fresh Habanero Pepper (de-stemmed)
- 3 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (cubed)
- 4 Cloves Garlic (minced)
- 1 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon
For Hot Sauce
- Add the vegetable oil to a small skillet and heat over medium high heat.
- Once hot, add the mango, onions and peppers to the pan. Cook until onion is soft (5-8 minutes). Stir while cooking so that things don’t burn.
- Add the lemon juice, ketchup and sugar to the pan. Stir and cook until mixture is slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).
- Remove from pan and add all of this to a blender.
- Puree until smooth. Make sure you vent the lid of your blender so that the hot contents don’t explode all over you and your kitchen.
- Set aside.
For Chicken Chili
- Add 4 cups of the mango chunks (save the remaining cup) to a crock pot.
- Continue adding the tomato paste, onions, habanero, chicken, garlic and bouillon to the crock pot. Top it all with the hot sauce and stir to mix everything up.
- Cover and cook, on low setting, for 6-8 hours.
- Once cooked, pour the chili into a large pot and heat over medium high heat.
- Add the remaining cup of mango chunks and cook until the pools of liquid have been cooked off.
- While the chili cooks, stir and break up the cubes of chicken so that it’s shredded.
- Cook the chili until it gets to a consistency you like.
- Remove from heat and serve with chopped green onions and sour cream.
I didn’t add any salt to this chili, but feel free to add a few pinches if you like.
Also, you can use fresh or frozen mango. I used frozen mango chunks. Just make sure that you thaw them before using.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 8 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
Recipe by Pamela Braun.
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