This is a thick and hearty soup to warm up even the coldest of winter nights. Personally, I like to really pump up the spiciness in this soup, but feel free to adjust the amount of hot pepper and other flavors to your liking.
Spicy Black Bean and Chicken Stew
For the beans:
- 1 lb dried black beans
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
Soak beans for 6-8 hours. Drain, rinse, and transfer them to a large pot. Add the bay leaf and cold water to cover the beans by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender but still firm, about an hour. Add the salt about halfway through the cooking process.
For the chicken and broth:
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
- 1 carrot, cut in large chunks
Place chicken and vegetables in a large soup pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until chicken is done, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool. Remove and discard skin and bone, shred or dice the meat. Strain and reserve the cooking broth, discard vegetables.
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 dried chipotle chile, seeds removed
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
- 2 cans of peeled tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- Sour cream or greek yogurt, to garnish
- fresh cilantro or Italian parsley, to garnish
In a large, heavy soup pot, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and add the jalapeno, chipotle chile, onions, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the peeled tomatoes and ground cumin and cook, crushing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, for another 5 minutes. Pour in about 6 cups of reserved chicken broth, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Add the cooked, drained beans and continue to simmer until the beans and the vegetables are very tender, about another 30-45 minutes. You may add more broth or water if necessary. Add the shredded chicken and heat, but do not boil. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust spices as needed. If the soup is too thick, add more broth water until it reaches desired consistency.
Serve hot in individual bowls and garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro.