Photographing soup is frustrating. And I tend not to do it. A picture can paint a thousand words and I fully believe that, but not with soup. A bowl of soup has a depth that can’t be discerned in a photo; it’s got more flavor in a tiny spoonful than many dishes have overall and to try and photograph it to convey that message is impossible. If you’ve got any great tips, please share.
How I wish you could taste what came out of my soup pot last night. It was one of those days where I had a lot of stuff to do and suddenly it was 3:30 in the afternoon and I didn’t have a dinner plan. I hate that, but it does sometimes rev up my inner Iron Chef and I spend some time flinging open the freezer, the pantry and the fridge to see what’s available to utilize. I was pretty low on vegetables and lacking in any leftover grains. Soup was definitely an idea, but what kind?
Something drove me to open my recipe folder and on the very first page of the Soup category was a clipping from a magazine for Chipotle Chicken and White Bean soup. The plan basically evolved itself. Within 45 minutes we had a steaming pot.
And it was delicious!
Spicy Chicken Chipotle Soup
1# boneless chicken breasts, cut to bite size
1 large onion, diced fine
1 stalk celery, diced fine
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can great northern beans, rinsed
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 4-oz can diced green chilies
2-3 t. chipotle en adobo
1 qt. chicken broth
In the work bowl of a food processor, place drained and rinsed beans, tomatoes with juice, green chilies, chipotle and about a half cup of water. Process until smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Pour into a bowl; it should be about a quart.
In a stock pot, heat oil and add onions and celery. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions begin to brown. Add in jalapeno and cook about 5 minutes more. Stir in the garlic, turn down the heat and cook until very browned and fragrant. Keep stirring to avoid it sticking and burning. When all the vegetables are nicely caramelized, scrape them into a bowl. Add a little more oil to pot. Season the diced chicken with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and add to hot pot. Allow to brown, stirring occasionally, until all the pink is gone. Add in the vegetables and processed tomato mix, stir to combine then add chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
This can be served with broken tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream, chopped fresh jalapenos or any other appropriate condiments.
The pureed bean/tomato mixture gives this soup a decent thickness without added cream or a flour/butter mix. You can alter the chipotle to make it less or more spicy, substitute black beans, navy beans or pinto beans for the great northerns. I like the deep flavor that the caramelized onion mix gives it, but it isn’t completely necessary. Diced red or green pepper would be very nice in this as well.