Chili Verde With Chicken and Vegetables–Great Do-Ahead for a Festive Gathering or Family at Home

Turkey and White Bean Chili
Chef Stephanie Valentine's superb Turkey and White Bean Chili

Update 11/23/15 – After a bit of reader feedback, we’ve moderated the recipe to include a bit more liquid. But not to worry; it really is one of those recipes you cannot mess up.

Here’s an easy, do-ahead, un-holiday-ish dish which may be just what you’re in the mood for after all those sweet potatoes. 

Bonus No. 1: It’s a great use for leftover turkey. 

Bonus No. 2:  It’s a way to get husbands and children to eat vegetables without realizing it. Just between us chilies.

Bonus No. 3: Freezes beautifully, taking (at least some of) the stress out of figuring out what to make that does not involve a stick of butter, a box of brown sugar, condensed milk, or Aunt Myrtle’s congealed salad mold.

Does anybody still make congealed salads? Does anybody under 40 even know what they are?

Serve it alone, or with warm tortillas or rice, and a salad. You can sling on a little hot sauce and call it a day, or gussie it up with salsa, sour cream, sliced jalapenos, cilantro, shredded cabbage, or grated cheese. That’s more of a production, but more festive, too. Olé, baby.

Chili Verde With Chicken and Vegetables
Serves: 8
A versatile and vegetable-loaded dish that is great to do ahead for a crowd. Serve with sour cream or yogurt, salsa, guacamole, cilantro, shredded cabbage, sliced jalapeño, and grated cheese. It is great with warm corn tortillas or served over rice.
  1. 4 poblano chilies (or equivalent canned)
  2. 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed (or equivalent canned)
  3. ½ bunch cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  4. 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  5. 1 medium onion, diced
  6. 4 cloves garlic, 2 sliced, 2 minced
  7. 1 tablespoon minced oregano
  8. 1 teaspoon cumin seed, whole
  9. 4 cups chopped cabbage
  10. 4 cups cauliflower florets
  11. 2 cups zucchini, diced
  12. 6 cups chicken stock, +/- to reach desired consistency
  13. 4 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
  14. 1 ½-2 teaspoons salt
  15. 10 turns of pepper
  16. 1 bunch of spinach, cleaned and chopped
  1. If using fresh chilies or tomatillos, preheat grill or oven broiler to high, and have at the ready two bowls and plastic wrap.
  2. Rub chilies and tomatillos with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and place on grill or in greased pan under broiler. (You can also do this on the open flame of a gas burner.)
  3. For the poblanos, turn to blacken all sides, then put them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave until chilies are cool enough to handle, then peel, seed, and slice into ¼ inch strips. Set aside.
  4. For the tomatillos, broil until lightly charred and slightly soft, turning once during cooking. Place them in bowl to cool, then puree in blender with 2 cloves of sliced garlic and the ½ bunch of cilantro. Set aside.
  5. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 ½ tablespoons of oil. Sauté the onion, minced garlic, jalapeño, cumin, and minced oregano for about 2 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  6. Add cabbage and stir for an additional minute.
  7. Add cauliflower and zucchini and stir and cook a few minutes more.
  8. Turn heat to high, and add tomatillo purée and poblano strips.
  9. Add 6 cups chicken stock and the cooked chicken, and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  10. Add spinach and simmer at least 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve alone or with warm tortillas and/or rice. Garnishes may include salsa, guacamole, sliced jalapeno, grated cheese, cilantro, or shredded raw cabbage.
  1. A whole poached chicken will yield about 4 cups of meat and extra stock for later. Use any vegetables you like, or omit the chicken altogether and replace it with potatoes and butternut squash for a vegetarian version.
Frances Schultz


  1. Of course people still make congealed salads! They are mostly relegated to the old lady luncheon, but I love them. I still make one of my Grandmother’s recipes which uses black cherry jello, the canned black cherries, chopped pecans and dry sherry…LOTS of dry sherry! They are almost like Jell-O shots, but respectable enough to serve on a piece of old fashioned iceberg lettuce at the Thanksgiving table with family. And you get the benefit of all that sherry to tolerate “those” family members.

    1. Dear Katharine, wow that actually sounds great. You may be turning the tide here, reviving an old favorite… Thank you so much for writing. Warmly, Frances

  2. I think I will try this but I may make a few changes, I’ll let you know how it works out and what changes I’ll make. Happy Thanksgiving:)

    1. Hi Ale, and gosh had not tried the print function on recipe card – YAY! Thanks for letting me know! As for #3, hmmm, I can see your point. Will brace ourselves for #CubanDessertsMatter protest… 😉 xo Frances

  3. I will fess up ……cannot have Thanksgiving without congealed salad ! My daughter tells me I am the ONLY one that likes it but it may catch on with the grandchildren…. Makes me happy to get out my Grandmother’s molds…..xo Becky

  4. Dear Frances, can I just make this for Thanksgiving and skip all the stuffing and gravy and sweet potatoes? It sounds scrumptious and I cannot wait to make it! Also, if I had a penny for every time I have made your wonderful berry cobbler…well, I don’t know what…but I would be for sure thinner without that delicious recipe! A thousand thanks for your wonderful posts — and blessings galore to you and yours this Thanksgiving.

    1. Dear Sarah, YES YOU CAN. And follow it with the berry cobbler 😉 Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well. Thank you for your kind words, and blessings to you all, Frances

  5. You had me at ‘freezes beautifully’! I have a massive group coming for Thanksgiving and staying through the weekend. I’m going to whip up a batch and freeze it for Saturday night. Thanks for the recipe!


    1. You are so welcome Miss Lissy! And note that after a few remarks from readers the recipe has been modified to include more liquid – but this also a matter of preference to some degree. Enjoy, Happy Thanksgiving, and love to you all in beautiful Cashiers NC! xox Frances

    1. Hi Lucy, DARN that website hack that happened two years ago and destroyed so much of my content. I will hunt it down and get it to you, and back to the site. Funny we had it for dinner just last week. Thanks so much for writing, and bear with me. x! Frances

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *