this is a hearty soup that could be called a stew. it is perfect for a cold evening when the soul needs some warmth and some spice. this soup definately has heat because of the peppers. it is a heat that i always enjoy, but i will offer some suggestions for those who want to tame this dish down. don’t let the suggestion of heat steer you away from this recipe. also, the soup was better the next day, and less spicey, as the flavors were able to really meld together. the addition of tomato paste helps to elevate the flavors and might remind one of chicken enchiladas. who doesn’t love an enchilada?
5 cups low sodium chicken stock
2-3 skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 chili peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, juice included
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 c frozen corn
1/2 c tomato paste
3/4 c creme fraiche or mexican crema (if unavailable, sour cream or whole cream will do), room temperature
1/2 c cotija cheese or feta, crumbled
juice of 2 limes
in a large 4 qt pan, add the chicken stock and heat it at medium high. stir in the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. add the chicken breast and poach for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. set the chicken aside and continue to simmer the stock. if the stock has reduced a bit, feel free to add more chicken stock or water. add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and peppers. then add the tomatoes and let simmer for another 25 minutes covered. add tomato paste and mix well. add the black beans, corn, and chicken to the soup and simmer for another 20 minutes. turn the heat off and slowly incorporate the creme fraiche. add 1/2 cup of cilantro and stir to combine.
serve the soup in bowls and garnish with the cotija cheese and remaining cilantro. serve with tortilla chips. the soup can be served on top of a handful of the chips, however, they will absorb some of the liquids. it all depends on the thickness you desire. if you want to tone down the heat a bit, the chips will also help and another scoop of creme fraiche as well.