Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Southwestern Chicken and Bean Soup

The weather here in Pennsylvania this August has been beautiful. But we can all sense that fall is quickly approaching and too soon after that, winter will be here. With fresh, local peppers, onions, and tomatoes so abundant now, this is the perfect time to cook up a double batch of tortilla soup and freeze the leftovers. Come February, you'll be glad you did! This is my new favorite soup (and Ellen's). There is just the right balance of seasonings and just the right amount of heat (for me). If you like heat, you may want to add more jalapeno or some jalapeno seeds which add more spiciness than the outer parts of the pepper. You could easily make this a vegetarian soup and use vegetable broth and omit the chicken. The beans make it hearty even without the meat. You could also add zucchini or carrots to the soup if you were looking to use up some extra veggies in your refrigerator.

Southwestern Chicken and Bean Soup
adapted from Cooking Light (Southwestern Turkey Soup)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced (add some seeds if you want more heat)
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded, or any leftover cooked chicken
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 cups organic chicken broth
1 large bay leaf
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced, or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
crushed tortilla chips for garnish
shredded cheddar or jack cheese, or diced avocado for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, black pepper and salt and stir to coat. Add chicken broth, bay leaf, tomatoes, and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 15 minutes. Add shredded chicken and simmer until chicken is heated through. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves. Stir in cilantro. Ladle into bowls and top with tortilla chips and cheese or avocado.


  1. hmmmm...yummy!!!...the kiddos and I love chicken tortilla soup!!...I make those flour tortilla strips for on top, like they have at Max and Erma's.......I'll be trying your recipe soon...and as always, your pictures and produce amaze me!



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