Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hearty Black Bean and Chicken Soup

As our drizzle continues... so do our servings of soup.

This one is yet another of our favorites. It's a simple soup with a great hearty flavor, enhanced by cumin, garlic, onions, peppers, and cilantro. What's not to like? It has just enough of a spicy zip to be of interest, without spoiling the whole show. It's chock full of all things I love...chicken, black beans, white corn, tomatoes, and peppers...mixed and mingled in an earthy cumin-based stock.

While you let this soup simmer up a bit (which might take it out of the "quick" category), it definitely fits the bill for "easy." Just a bit of chopping, dropping, and simmering...and you're done with dinner!

Hearty Black Bean and Chicken Soup
adapted from a 2001 National Chicken Cooking Contest recipe
serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt (more or less, depending on chicken stock and preference)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 32-ounce carton low sodium chicken stock (I used Pacific Brand)
2 15-ounce cans cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with liquid (I used fire-roasted, with green chiles)
1 15-ounce can white corn, drained (or equivalent, frozen)
1 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Monterey jack cheese (or cheddar, as preferred), shredded (to top, if desired)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add chicken and onion, and cook until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cayenne, cumin, salt, red pepper, green pepper. Stir spices and peppers into chicken mixture. Sauté for a minute or so, then add chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil; then lower heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.

2. Add black beans, tomatoes, corn, and olives; simmer another 10 minutes or more. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat. Ladle soup into bowls and top with shredded cheese, if desired.

Note: If you want a spicier soup, add some diced, fresh jalapeño. If you have any soup left over on Day Two, you may need to add a little bit more broth.

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