Beans may be good for you, but that doesn’t mean every bowl of bean-rich chili is good for your diet.
If you take a look under the hood of many chili recipes, you’ll often find less-than-lean meat. Vegetarian versions fix that, but it’s not impossible to keep the meat and keep it healthy.
If your recipe calls for ground meat, use lean, ground turkey, chicken or even 93-percent lean ground beef.
If you make your chili with chunks of beef, stick to leaner cuts, such as sirloin or bottom round. Pork loin also works well. Just keep in mind that lean chunked meat dries out easily, so you might want to brown it and add it to the other ingredients just before the chili is finished.
Diced chicken and turkey also can be great in chili, but again, precook it and add it in at the end so it doesn’t dry out and toughen up.
This smoky white chili sports plenty of healthy beans, diced green chilies and onions. It gets a smoky taste from ground chipotle chili powder and the charred flavor of grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast.
Top the chili with small amounts of low-fat cheese and reduced-fat sour cream or shredded lettuce and a heap of diced fresh tomatoes.
Smoky White Chili with Grilled Chicken
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 large)
Two 7-ounce cans diced green chilies
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, or to taste
Six 15-ounce cans great northern beans or white cannellini beans, rinsed
8 cups (2 quarts) reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup lime juice
Heat a grill to medium-high.
In a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chilies, cumin, oregano and chipotle chili powder. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, grill the chicken until well-browned and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 F when inserted at the thickest part of the breast, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and cool for 10 minutes. Cut the grilled chicken into 3/4-inch dice, then set aside.
Using a ladle, transfer 2 cups of the beans and cooking liquid to a bowl and mash with a fork. Stir the mashed beans back into the simmering pot. Add the chicken and lime juice, then cook for 10 minutes more.
Yield: 12 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 350 calories; 57 calories from fat; 6 grams fat (1 gram saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 66 milligrams cholesterol; 33 grams carbohydrate; 41 grams protein; 9 grams fiber; 281 milligrams sodium.