A brothy chicken soup boosted with Mexican spices and lime juice is the best cure for a cold I have come across!
Sorry about the extended absence!! I mentioned in my last post that I had run out of savory meals to share because I had given in to popular demand (i.e., my kids) and made some repeater favorites. Which put me behind. And then my mom came to visit, bringing her amazing (and not at all traditional) beef stroganoff. I would love to share that recipe with you guys someday, but she had already made it, I seem to be succumbing to a virus, and plus I kinda like having something my mom makes for me (even if it technically was leftover from my sister’s birthday meal when she also requested it). All of this, especially the virus, meant I was flat out of anything to share with you!
But my mom left this morning, so I set some chicken out to thaw last night, and got some dried heirloom beans soaking. I added frozen homemade chicken stock concentrate to the bean stock, along with some chicken soup base. I also sautéed onions, garlic, canned green chile peppers and tomatoes with spices and herbs, and added that to the mix along with some roasted chicken breast. Honestly I felt better just smelling it simmering away all day.
We all seem to be coming down with colds around here, so we were all happy to have soup. I don’t know if you can tell but this crazy kid ate her soup with a fork–and then ate the broth with a spoon. Don’t ask because I have no idea either! At least she knows what I mean when I say take an enthusiastic bite; this was her sister’s idea of looking happy to be eating the soup (which she actually did love):
And yes, it might be that I felt too lousy to deal with my food photographing set up and decided to overcompensate for pretty boring photos with cute kids! Poor things–only food bloggers’ kids are expected to look cute while eating!
One quick note about the soup: I use Minor’s Low Sodium Chicken Base; if 3 tablespoons seems like too much for the amount of liquid in your soup for your chicken soup base, by all means start with less. Or, if you have homemade chicken stock without salt added, go ahead and use it to cook the beans in. But do not use a commercial broth as the salt will impede the beans cooking nicely.
- For the beans:
- 1½ lbs dried heirloom beans, soaked overnight
- 4 fat cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small-medium onion, chopped
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil (or lard)
- ½ t kosher sea salt
- 3 T chicken soup base
- For the chicken:
- 4 chicken breasts
- salt and pepper, enough to sprinkle on both sides of chicken
- ground cumin, enough to sprinkle on both sides of chicken
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil
- For the final touches for the soup:
- the chicken from above, roasted and chopped
- 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small can of chopped green chile peppers, drained
- 1 sweet bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 5 small-medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped (peeling optional)
- 2 t ground cumin
- 2 t Mexican oregano
- ¼ t ground coriander
- 2 t ground ancho chile pepper
- salt as needed (see recipe)
- juice of 2 limes
- Early in the day (or the previous day) start by cooking the beans and chicken. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- For the beans, place them in a large soup or stock pot (I used my 7 qt Dutch oven) and add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Cover with water by 2 inches and add the tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 5 minutes, skimming excess foam.
- Cover the beans and reduce the heat to the lowest setting to maintain a bare simmer. Check every hour or so both for doneness and to add water (water should stay 2 inches above beans). When the beans are cooked through but not quite yet creamy add the ½ teaspoon of salt. When the beans are done, add the chicken soup base and just turn off the heat.
- While the beans are cooking, pat dry your chicken breasts and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle all over with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dust with ground cumin. Rub the seasoning in and flip over and repeat. Set aside until your oven is preheated.
- Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the chicken and rub it around a bit to make sure it is both on top of and under the breasts. Roast it until barely cooked through (remember it will cook in the soup too, so you do not want to dry it out). For me this was about 20 minutes.
- Take the chicken out of the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Then chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and put in a sealed container in the fridge for later (obviously you could also choose to get the chicken done later, closer to when you need it).
- About an hour before serving time, turn the heat back on to medium for your beans (higher if you are pulling them from the fridge cold).
- Place the 2 chopped onions in a large nonstick skillet. When it starts to cook, add the 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes on medium-high, until translucent and beginning to turn golden.
- Add the sweet bell pepper, chopped green chile pepper and garlic. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until fragrant and caramelizing.
- Add the cumin, coriander, oregano and ancho chile pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes and let cook until the tomatoes break down and thicken, about another 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped chicken to the beans.
- After the tomatoes have cooked down, scrape the entire pan into the beans. Stir. Bring to a boil and then let simmer gently until ready to serve.
- Before serving, add the juice of 2 limes. Taste for more salt, lime juice, or even about a teaspoon of sugar if needed.
- When we are fighting colds, we tend to avoid dairy, but you could also serve this soup with Monterey jack cheese and/or sour cream.