three bean chicken chili

Last week, I won a trophy for the spiciest chili for the third time in four years. It’s not a bad track record, and each year I feel as though my chili gets better. For those chili fans out there, I’ve decided to share a recipe that is similar to my competition chili. This is my personal favorite - a three bean chicken chili. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear your feedback.


  • 2 lbs chicken, cubed
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, minced
  • 4 fresh red savina habaneros, minced
  • 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 tbl ground cumin
  • 1 tbl ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)


Protip: Use gloves when chopping up the peppers. I’m nearly immune to the effects of chili peppers, but the oil will soak into your skin, and no amount of washing it will remove it. Your hands may not hate you, but your eyes will for the next two days.

Protip: This will be spicy. If you prefer your chili less spicy, seed the peppers first. Alternately, experiment with other, less spicy, but equally tasty peppers.

Protip: For the love of all that’s holy, don’t buy pre-minced garlic in a jar. It’s a crime against the onion family.

Protip: Dried, ground spices keep for about three to six months in an airtight container in a dark cupboard. After that point, the essential oils dissipate, and your ground spices start to taste like dust. Throw them out and start over.

Also, when purchasing new spices, don’t buy from the normal spice aisle in the grocery store - the one that’s normally near the baked goods or the instant mashed potatoes. You’re paying about two to three times more than you should. Go to the ethnic/international aisle in the store. You’ll find the same quality spices for about half the price.

If you don’t have an ethnic/international aisle, find an equivalent store. They’re filled with wonderful spices for people who actually cook with spices on a regular basis.


  1. Sweat the onions and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until the onions have turned translucent and taken on a nice golden color.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on high for 2 hours, then turn to low and let cook for another hour. Your cooking time may vary, depending on your model and relative volume of your crock pot. Stir no more than once per hour. Any more than that, and you’re letting valuable heat out by lifting the lid.
  3. Serve with your favorite accoutrement. Sour cream and cheese will help cut the heat, for the heat averse.
  4. Enjoy!