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White Chicken Chili makes a delicious meal full of mildly-spicy Chili Flavor, Red Lentils, Butternut Squash and Chicken.

Chicken-Lentil Chili with Butternut Squash

White Chicken Chili makes a delicious meal full of mildly-spicy Chili Flavor, Red Lentils, Butternut Squash and Chicken. This light & tasty chili gets and extra flavor-pop with my Raw Tomatillo Salsa

This Chili makes a big batch so you can serve for company… or enjoy for a few nights!
Perfect for Fall & Winter – A hearty, chunky chili that’s also light & nutritious

White Chicken Chili makes a delicious meal full of mildly-spicy Chili Flavor, Red Lentils, Butternut Squash and Chicken.


2 ½ pounds chicken tenderloins, tendon removed, cleaned and dried

2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups butternut squash, peeled, cut into ½” cubes

1 large onion, peeled, cut into ½”cubes (about 2 cups)

2 medium ribs celery, peeled and sliced thickly

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons jalapeño, minced

½ teaspoon Guindilla dried chilis*, chopped fine or crushed, more if you like spicier

3 medium garlic cloves, peeled, small chop, about 1 ½ T.

¾ cup Red Chief lentils**

3 cups chicken broth, homemade preferable, divided

½ teaspoon sea salt (depends on the saltiness of your broth)

¼ cup cilantro or parsley, chopped coarsely 

sour cream, optional

½ cup Mexican cheese*** grated



Cut each tenderloins into 5 even sized pieces (see below for more information.) Add them all to a bowl to hold.
Add these extra seasonings; 1/4 teaspoon of each: sea salt, ground cumin, dried oregano and freshly cracked black pepper – blend in.


In a large 13″ skillet (I use an all-clad one) add 2 T. of olive oil, and bring to medium heat.

(If using a smaller skillet, cook the chicken in 2 batches.)
Add the cut chicken and give a big stir. Leave to brown underneath, then stir up. Cook until just golden around the edges, but not cooked through.
Remove chicken to a bowl and set aside.


Add remaining 1/2 T. olive oil and with the butternut squash, onions and celery. Stir up – cover and cook over low heat to soften, 5 minutes.
Add the seasonings:  1 1/2 t. ground cumin, 1 t. oregano, 2 t. jalapeño, Guindilla dried chilis and 1 1/2 T. garlic – and the lentils. Give all a big stir and cook over low heat 1 minute to toast the spices.


Add 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth, bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 13 – 15 minutes until the lentils are tender.
The pan should have some broth that has not all been absorbed.


Add the reserved chicken, 1/2 cups of reserved chicken broth and salt. Simmer covered for 5 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
Take off heat, set aside 10 minutes, then uncover. The chili will thicken as it stands.
Stir in the chopped cilantro or parsley. Taste for salt.


*Guindilla dried chile peppers have mild heat and an earthy depth with a sweet flavor and beautifully red in color. Can substitute red chili flakes.


** Red Chief Lentils are a pale salmon-colored, lens-shaped legume that are known for their quick-cooking nature and high protein content. You may use your favorite variety of Red Lentils; check for cooking time.


Chicken tenderloins are my choice for this recipe. They are difficult to overcook and are very, well – tender!
Cut each into five even chunks, season and brown in a little olive oil.
The chicken tender or tenderloin, is a strip of breast meat, that is part of the breast but that is not really connected so that it can be separated and used as it is. Like the beef tenderloin, it is more tender because of it’s location.
Found where you purchase chicken – to prepare them, grasp the end of the tendon (which is white and runs lengthwise) and slide your knife under it at a 20 degree angle and simply pull the tendon toward you and remove it.


To serve:
Portion into individual bowls.

Top with extra fresh herbs: cilantro or parsley and grated cheese ~ ***Mexican Queso Fresco or Cotija. Grated Sharp Cheddar works well too.
Swirl in a little Sour Cream (optional.)
Crushed tortillas are nice too.
Top with Raw Tomatillo Salsa (see recipe)

See BLOG for more photos and information.

This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.

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