The recipe calls for many convenience products, but the results are a delicious, beautifully seasoned soup that bursts with flavor.
To round out the meal, there will be a salad of greens tossed in a lime and olive oil dressing, crusty bread, and a platter of homemade cookies for dessert.
Although I think this is an ideal recipe to serve when entertaining weekend company, I am also counting on using it in other ways. The soup could anchor a light meal or star as the main course.
CHICKEN SOUP WITH BLACK BEANS AND PEPITAS
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2/3 cup diced celery, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup diced carrots, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
- A 28-ounce can diced tomatoes and their juices
- A 4 to 4-1/2 ounce can chopped mild green chilis and any liquid
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (mild not hot)
4 cups shredded cooked chicken (see note)
- A 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels, defrosted and patted dry
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds; see note)
- 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic, and saute until vegetables are slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, chilis, oregano, cumin and smoked paprika. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the chicken, black beans and corn, and simmer 5 minutes more. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed. (The soup can be prepared 2 days ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate.)
Place pepitas and cilantro in a food processor, and pulse until finely minced, scraping the bowl as needed.
To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls and top with a generous spoonful or more of the pepita mixture.
Note: Use a good quality rotisserie chicken from your local supermarket. A 1 3/4 to 2 pound chicken will yield 4 cups white and dark meat. Pull meat off bones and shred or cut into thin strips.
Note: Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are available in some supermarkets and in health food stores. If you can't find roasted pepitas, place seeds in a skillet set over medium heat, and cook and stir until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Seeds might pop while they are cooking. Watch carefully so they do not burn.