Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chicken and Black Bean Soup

Hello, everyone!  I was thinking the other night, that with fall fully up on us now, that I wanted to have a simple, flavorful soup that wasn't a chili.  I know, I know, this looks like a chili, but it isn't.  It's a really lovely black bean soup!  Even better, it comes together in minutes, and takes at least an hour or two to cook (even less if you use precooked chicken!).
I started this off in the early afternoon, in my slow cooker, but I was ready to eat, and my slow cooker was just too slow, so I moved it to my stove top!  Problem solved!  There are several different ways to adapt this soup, which is really one of the great things about soup.  You can add in salsa if you like, or just diced tomatoes; you can change up the seasonings and certainly turn it into a black bean chili if that's what you're craving, but, for this, I just wanted an easy recipe that I didn't have to think too much about!
Here's your grocery list for this one:
2 stalks of celery, cut up
2 cans of black beans, undrained
1 can of corn, undrained
4 cups of chicken stock
2-3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Seasonings for chicken breasts:
2 tsp paprika 
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
Seasonings for soup:
3 dried Bay leaves
3/4 C Tamale flour, or Masa harina 
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Kosher salt

Yes, as usual, it sounds like a lot, but honestly, you probably have all of this on hand.  To start off with, cup up your celery; I like to use the stocks all the way up to the top, as long as the greens look good.  The leaves taste like...are you ready for this?  Celery!  There's no reason not to use them!  Set the celery aside for just a second, and cut up the chicken into roughly 1 inch pieces.  

I like to season my chicken before adding it to the soup; it is important to flavor your dishes at every step!  If you're going the slow cooker route, put the chicken and celery into the slow cooker, and stir until everything is coated.  If you're going stove top route, also add the celery and chicken in and stir until everything is coated!

Add in the beans, and corn, with all of their liquids.  

Add in whatever spices/seasonings you want at this point. I was feeling pretty lazy, so I kept it pretty simple with the garlic powder, paprika and Kosher salt (watch the salt - the beans have a lot of sodium in them).  Add in the chicken stock, give everything a stir, and add in the tamale flour.  Now, the tamale flour will help this to thicken up, but it also packs a ton of flavor in!  You can easily find this at any grocery store (I got mine at Wal-Mart), and is really great in these kinds of soups.

Now then, if you have the time to do this in a slow cooker, let it cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.  If you don't have the time for a slow cooker, you can cook this over medium high heat for 2 hours on the stove top.  You can garnish with toppings of your choice, but I like to keep it simple with cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  This also reheats beautifully, because there will be leftovers.  Just thin it out with a little bit of water, or chicken stock!