This is truly one of the easiest soups to throw together. As Autumn approaches, cooler temperatures bring opportunities to warm the kitchen, and comfort our appetites.
Easily altered, you don't have to stick to the exact recipe. In fact, this soup was the end result of picking five recipes from various cookbooks, then combining them, changing a few things, adding a few things and even eliminating certain ingredients that didn't make the cut.
Don't feel bad about changing the recipe. It is a great one to use when you're cleaning out the refrigerator and raiding the pantry. If you are lucky enough to have fresh Hatch green chilies, by all means, use fresh peppers.
If you would like to see a step-by-step tutorial with plenty of pictures, CLICK HERE
Prep the chicken:
3-4 boneless chicken breast halves or 2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken
(Our local meat market always mentions the fact that a breast is technically two halves)
Olive oil (yes, you can substitute vegetable oil)
In a small bowl, combine the following:
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt (*) See note about sodium below
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I lay on the grinder with a heavy hand)
Remove all skin, bones and such from chicken breast, place breasts on a baking sheet. Sprinkle just a bit of the seasonings on both sides of the chicken, reserving the remaining spices. Bake at 350-375 degrees until chicken is completely cooked, or a meat thermometer reaches 180 degrees. Set aside to cool.
Optional cooking method for chicken: Cut raw chicken breast into small cubes, sprinkle with spice, and cook on a stove top with a bit of oil in the pot. When cooked, set chicken aside.
Vegetable prep work:
1 medium or large onion - diced
1 whole jalapeno pepper - remove stems and veins, dice. I leave in the seeds for the look.
1/2 cup poblano pepper - diced (substitution: 1/2 cup green bell pepper)
1/2 cup red bell pepper - diced
3-4 cloves of garlic - finely minced
10 oz. can of whole green chilies (do not drain)
10 oz. can of Original Rotel (do not drain)
11 oz. can of white corn (drained)
15 oz. can of black beans (drain and rinse)
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (do not drain - I used Hunt's brand)
32 oz. carton of chicken broth (I used low sodium, see note below *)
* A note about sodium.
My husband loves the salt shaker. No matter what I cook, his habit is to grab the shaker before even trying the food, but we've been working on this. I was very surprised that he not only tried the soup first, but then only added a little bit of salt. This is saying a lot, especially for someone with such tainted taste buds. We could all use a little less salt.
Though low-sodium chicken broth is used in this recipe, there is still plenty of sodium / salt in the soup. Consider lower sodium beans and perhaps even lower sodium tomatoes if you are watching your salt intake. If you just can't live without it, you can always salt your own bowl of soup instead of the entire pot.
Cooking over medium heat, in the bottom of a large soup pot or heavy Dutch oven, drizzle a bit of olive or vegetable oil. Add all of the prepped vegetables, sprinkle with the leftover seasonings from the chicken breast. When the smell of the spices fill the air, (only a moment or two) add all of the canned and cartoned goods. Stir and allow to cook while you shred the chicken.
Shredding the chicken:
By now, the chicken may be cool enough to handle. You may cut the chicken into cubes if you wish, or shred the chicken by using two forks, pulling at the breast to create shredded pieces. Once the chicken has been prepped, add it to the soup. Reduce the temperature and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes.
Serve when hot, sprinkling any of the following tidbits on top for a beautiful presentation:
Grated cheese (Don't fret, I used mozzarella. Suggested cheese: sharp cheddar, pepper jack, Monterey)
Fresh diced onions
Crumbled tortilla chips or strips
Freshly ground black pepper