Soup weather is upon us, possums! Or at least it is for those of us in the Midwest. With weather in the 60s during the day and 40s in the night, this is the time of year that I enjoy soup the most.
I decided to kick off Soup Season this year with a big batch of Spicy Chicken Soup, one of my Go To soup recipes for when I have a little time. It isn’t labor-intensive but it does require a long and slow simmer. That long and slow simmer condenses the soup and melds the flavors into something perfect for the cooler weather up ahead. As a bonus, it freezes and reheats well.
I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit over the years. Mostly recently, I’ve added a Parmesan rind while it simmers. The rind adds a wonderful flavor to soups. They’ll often just disintegrate into the soup but, if not, you can fish out the remnants and toss them. (Or eat them!)
My local stores would sometimes give away the rinds as scraps but lately they’ve gotten wise to my tricks and have started selling them. (Side note: Next up on my To Make list is Parmesan broth. Yum!)
And now onto the main event…
- 2 pounds chicken breast fillets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 potato, peeled & chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 15 oz can corn, drained
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can red kidney beans, plus liquid
- 1 4 oz jar pimento, drained
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 jalapeños, diced
- ¼ cup chopped Italian flat parsley
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ tablespoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- healthy dash cayenne pepper
- healthy dash dried basil
- healthy dash dried oregano
- 1 Parmesan rind (totally optional)
- Sauté the chicken breasts in the olive oil in a large pot over medium/high heat. Cook the chicken on both sides until done -- about 7-10 minutes per side. Set the chicken aside for now. Don't rinse the pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and turn heat to high. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
- When the chicken is cool enough to handle, chop it up and add it to the pot.
- Simmer the soup uncovered for 4-5 hours, stirring often. Combined with the simmer, stirring frequently will break up and shred the chicken a bit. The soup will darken and thicken up quite a bit.
- Enjoy with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche, a sprinkling of cheese or whatever your favorite soup toppings are!