I saw a photo of Trader Joe’s new – or maybe not new, but returning – Green Chile Chicken Bowls on Instagram and immediately decided to recreate it. I posted the video to my socials last week, and there were a few requests for the written recipe so here we are!
Trader Joe’s describes their Green Chile Chicken Bowls as shredded dark meat chicken, green chile sauce, cilantro seasoned rice, and shredded cheddar cheese. You can describe my rendition the same way, except I’m a white meat-only type of gal, so that’s what I used. Read on for more details on the ingredients I used, as well as advice on swapping them out.
Green Chile Chicken Bowls Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Green Chile Chicken Bowls recipe:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts: My preference. You can use dark or white meat, you can use bone-in and skin-on, and you could even use meat pulled off of a grocery store deli rotisserie chicken. Since the meat will be shredded, it doesn’t matter much outside of texture and the amount of time it takes for the chicken to reach 165°F internally.
- Green chiles: I opted for a can of hot green chilies because I always have those on hand. If you have access to fresh green chiles definitely use those instead and char or roast them first to bring out their flavor before dicing them up.
- White onion, cilantro: Onion for the green chile sauce, and you can use a yellow onion instead. Cilantro for the rice, and it’s nice as a garnish on the Green Chile Chicken Bowls, too.
- Chicken broth, water: Water only for the rice. You can use chicken broth instead, just reduce the amount of salt you use for it. Chicken broth for simmering the chicken and building the sauce.
- Long-grain rice: I use parboiled converted rice, usually. Basmati and jasmine will work here as well, but you might want to reduce the amount of liquid by a few tablespoons to keep the grains firmer.
- Cheddar cheese: I recommend using your favorite cheddar and shredding it yourself, as always. For the Green Chile Chicken Bowls pictured, I used a mixture of sharp cheddar and colby jack because I’d made some Ol’ School Mac and Cheese the day before and had some of both to get rid of.
- All-purpose flour: For thickening the sauce. You can opt for adding a cornstarch slurry instead. Rice flour is a good gluten-free option.
- Olive oil, butter, vegetable oil: Our fats. All of them are interchangeable as you see fit or have on hand.
- Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, dried oregano, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper: Our seasonings. All of these work well with the green chile flavor, which I felt should by far be the strongest feature of these Green Chile Chicken Bowls. You should adjust to your own tastes.
Cook and Shred The Chicken
- Begin by mixing everything listed under the seasoning blend header: garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. Strip about half of the cilantro leaves from their stems and mince them. Leave the other half of the cilantro intact.
- Season your chicken liberally with the seasoning blend that you just made, then place a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Let the pan preheat for 2 minutes, then add half of the butter. Swirl it around so that it melts and coats the surface of the pan. Add your chicken in a single layer and allow it to sear undisturbed for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes flip the chicken and allow it to sear on the opposite side for 2 more minutes.
- Pour in one cup of chicken broth and bring it to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the chicken simmer for 10 minutes or so, just until cooked through.
- When the chicken is cooked through add the chicken breasts and the cooking liquid to the bowl of your stand mixer (or a regular bowl, and grab a stand mixer). Use the mixer to shred the chicken. You can also use a couple of forks or whatever other method for shredding the chicken that you want. Set the chicken aside.
Make the Cilantro Rice
Similar to my Cilantro Lime Rice recipe, we toast and then simmer long-grain rice with a small bunch of cilantro, before fluffing and working in fresh minced cilantro. Feel free to add a squeeze of lime juice to this or to use that recipe instead:
- Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat and drizzle in the vegetable oil. Once the oil is shimmering, stir in the rice and kosher salt. Coat the rice in the oil and let it toast for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the water and let it come to a boil.
- Once the rice is boiling add a few sprigs of cilantro (I usually use about 8 of them) and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and allow the rice to cook undisturbed until the grains are tender and the liquid has been absorbed (about 20 minutes).
- When the rice is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, remove the cilantro stems and toss in the minced cilantro. Fluff the rice with a fork, also working the cilantro into the rice gently.
Green Chile Sauce for Green Chile Chicken Bowls
- Add the olive oil to the same pan you used to cook the chicken – or a fresh one, if you want – and allow it to heat over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and saute until they’re softened and becoming translucent.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions, then stir the two together. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes, allowing the flour taste to cook out. Once you have a thick, yellowish paste coating your onions stir in the green chiles, chicken broth, and a teaspoon or so of the seasoning blend. Give it a taste and adjust for salt or more of the blend, as you see fit. Finish with black pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes or so.
- Now all that’s left is to build your Green Chile Chicken Bowls!
Obligatory Pinterest Graphic –