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I don’t make Chicken-Tortilla Soup; I don’t know why. People like it; my husband likes it. Well, I think I did once make it now that I’m thinking of it.  A favorite gloppy, flaccid and nondescript overly-seasoned offering in many inexpensive restaurants, I’ve never gotten my mind around it because you can’t tart up a poorly-made cheap soup with freshly made tortilla chips and a half-cup of Cheddar for gods’ sake. I know, I’m just being snarky and nit-picky. Squinting my eyes, pulling my mouth to one side, and making a nasty guttural noise here. So when I hit the pantry looking for something to round out a little “leftover” (an unfortunate adjective if there ever was one) rotisserie chicken for dinner, I made the soup you see above and immediately thought of it as:

Easy Chicken-Black Bean Soup.

Later i wondered if this weren’t on the exact same highway but more on the adjacent access road as Chicken Tortilla. I decided I didn’t particularly care and so if you want to add skinny strips of corn tortillas at the end (just heat through really), I guess you can and be thrilled, too. I do think the beans are plenty of fiber and energy and, unlike the chain restaurants who-shall-go-unnamed, I’ve included a substantial amount of stick-to-your-ribs shredded chicken here so that you aren’t running to the freezer for ice cream an hour or three after dinner.

Most of the ingredients for this soup–or a similar soup–could be in your pantry or larder. If you’ve some beans and broth in the cupboard, onions in the drawer and carrots/celery in the veg bin for the mirepoix and some cooked chicken, you’re right on your way. You could go in one of many directions to make a filling, frugal, fast easy- tasty meal. Have white beans and rosemary for a Provencal twist? Pintos and a can of Rotel could spell out a fast chicken chili for your immediate future dinner. In fact, one of your kids (should you have any) could do any of these with a bit of supervision and learn a bit about how to feed his/herself without spending a ton of time and cash, an important skill to have.

below: our grandson, Rhyan, trying out a muffin he made 

With careful shopping, this comes in under $10 without the garnishes. If you’ve canned/cooked black beans, tomatoes, and chicken, make my Easy Chicken and Black Bean Soup and see what I mean. It’s not fancy fare, but it’ll definitely and most happily feed you:

EASY CHICKEN-BLACK BEAN SOUP

4-6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon each: butter and olive oil
  • 1 each: small onion, carrot, stalk celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine — can sub water or broth
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth (32 ounces)
  • 2 15-ounce cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh corn, optional
  • Hot sauce to taste (start with a couple of drops, adding more as needed)
  • CHOICE OF GARNISHES: Grated sharp cheddar, sour cream whisked with lime juice, chopped ripe avocado, pepitas, crushed tortilla chips, minced green onion, thinly sliced radish, fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fresh tomatoes (any or all)

Heat butter and oil over medium heat in a 5-6-quart heavy pot with lid.  Cook onion, carrot, celery, and jalapeño in covered pot, stirring occasionally, for five minutes until softened. Add garlic; cook another minute, stirring.  Season with 1 teaspoon salt, half teaspoon pepper, the oregano and the cumin; stir.  Add white wine and let cook down 3-4 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, broth, beans, chicken, and corn, if using; bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot with choice(s) of garnish(es).

{printable recipe}

WINE: Syrah

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If you liked this, you might also like my

Fast Chicken and Tortellini Soup

I promise to be somewhat less snippy and snitty next time. In the meanwhile… I hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day.

Sing a new song and use up your leftover chicken,

Alyce