Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Soup

Trish and I love to eat fancy food and prepared feasts... but sometimes, when you get home from work, it's more about what you can whip up in under an hour. Here's an easy recipe for a Mexican-inspired soup that takes less than half an hour and turns out to be delicious and nutritious.

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Rub 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts with a generous amount salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder (omit the cumin and chili powder if you don't like too much spice). I usually use 2 tsps each of garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder per breast. Apply some cooking spray or brush the breast with oil and put the chicken in the oven on a baking sheet. Set a timer for 35 minutes. Meanwhile get out some salsa (your favorite kind), chicken or beef stock, 1 can of diced tomatoes (15.5 oz.) 1 can of black beans (15.5 oz), 8 oz. of corn kernels (frozen is fine), 2 jalapenos, 1/2 a red bell pepper, 5 cloves of garlic, and a small onion. Drain and wash the black beans and tomatoes and thaw the corn - set these aside. Mince the garlic and onion, and dice the peppers. Saute the garlic and onions with a little bit of oil in a saucepan over medium heat.When the garlic and onion are fragrant, add the bell and jalapeno peppers. Saute another 2 minutes. Add the corn, beans, and tomatoes, mix, and let saute another 2-3 minutes. You have a very colorful and attractive mixture at this point!
Next, add about 6 tbsp of your favorite salsa. Then add enough stock to just cover the vegetable mixture (I like a very chunky soup; you could always add more broth). Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat, and let simmer. At this point, you are waiting for your chicken to come out of the oven. When it does, check in the center to make sure it is fully cooked. I find that after 35 minutes, it is well done but still very juicy. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Add the shredded chicken to the soup. Add more stock to achieve desired consistency. You can also add milk or cream to get a creamy soup at this point. After adding the chicken, cover the saucepan again and cook for about 5 minutes to let the chicken absorb the liquid. Then, it's ready to serve!

It's not fancy, and it's not our best dish, but it is convenient, hearty, filling, and tasty on a Wednesday night after a long day at the office.


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