We had been making traditional chili at Barefoot Contessa for almost 20 years. I decided to update it with chicken to make it lighter, and it's even more popular than our regular chili.


  • 8 cups chopped yellow onions (6 onions)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic (8 cloves)
  • 4 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and large-diced
  • 4 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and large-diced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
  • Four 28-ounce cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 8 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For Serving:
  • Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream


1. Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6-8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35-40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Clarkson Potter 2001. All rights reserved.

RecID 11243

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