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Brothy Chicken Soup with Mexican Spices, Heirloom Beans and Corn

Mexican Inspired Chicken Soup with Corn and Heirloom Beans

Course Entree
Cuisine Soup
Author TheSpicedLife


For the beans:

  • 1 1/2 lbs dried heirloom beans, soaked overnight
  • 4 fat cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small-medium onion, chopped
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil or lard
  • 1/2 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
  • 1/4 t ground coriander
  • 2 t ground ancho chile pepper
  • salt as needed (see instructions)
  • juice of 2 limes


  1. Early in the day (or the previous day) start by cooking the beans and chicken. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 1/2 teaspoon of salt. When the beans are done, add the chicken soup base and just turn off the heat.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. Add the sweet bell pepper, chopped green chile pepper and garlic. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until fragrant and caramelizing.
  10. 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.
  11. Add the chopped chicken to the beans.
  12. 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.
  13. Before serving, add the juice of 2 limes. Taste for more salt, lime juice, or even about a teaspoon of sugar if needed.
  14. 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.