Hearty Mexican Style Bean, Rice and Chicken SoupThis is a wonderfully hearty recipe and it is very easy to bulk up for more people. It's also gluten free and if you want to make a veggie version replacing the chicken with tofu or mushrooms or quorn, and the chicken stock with vegetable stock would work well.
This dish also only takes a few minutes to throw together if the chicken and rice are cooked in advance, so it is great for those dinners when there is little time to cook.
- 2 or 3 chicken breasts (you can also use chicken thighs, just up the number depending on the size of the thighs)
- 2 tsp oil (olive, sunflower, or whichever you prefer)
- 1 red onion
- 1 red or green pepper (capsicum) (I use a roasted red pepper from a jar because I don't like pepper skin)
- 250g/9oz (about 2/3 cup) cooked rice (brown rice cooked = 2x uncooked weight, white rice cooked = 3x uncooked weight) I use a basmati/wild rice combo when I can get it, but plain basmati when I can't - a pouch of precooked rice also works :)
- 1-2 tbsp chipotle paste (chipotle is spicy, so go with your personal taste on amount, also check the label if you need it to be gluten free - not all of them are)
- 200g/7oz (just over 1 cup) sweetcorn (I use a can, but frozen is okay too)
- 400g/15oz can black beans (1.75 cups) (if you can't get black beans, kidney beans, haricot beans or whichever is your fav canned bean will do as long as they are not in a sauce).
- 1.2 l ( about 4.5 cups) chicken stock (I use dilutable liquid stock)
- a handful of fresh coriander finely chopped or 1 tspn dried coriander leaf
Optional to serve:
- 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados
- 1 lime
- garlic powder or grated garlic
- soured cream
- sharp knife
- large caserole pan that can be used on the hob
- If using dried rice, cook as instructed on the packet, drain and put aside for later.
- Fry off the chicken in the pan with 1 tsp of the oil until it is cooked through, remove from the pan and leave to rest. (You can do this in advance or use left over chicken as well - it does not need to be hot).
- Finely chop the onion.
- Heat the other tsp of oil in the same pan and throw in the onion, cooking on a low heat to sweat it down until it is translucent. Do not allow it to colour.
- Chop the pepper.
- Add the pepper to the pan. If it is raw allow to cook for 2-3 mins before continuing, if it is roasted from a jar go on to the next step immeditately.
- Add the chipotle paste, rice and sweetcorn to the pan and stir to make sure everything is coated in the paste. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the stock and stir.
- Drain and add the black beans and stir.
- Up the heat and bring to the boil before turning down the heat again so the pot is simmering.
- Shred the chicken and add half to the pan along with the corriander.
- Let it simmer for a minute or too and then let it sit for another minute.
- While the soup is simmering, cut the avocados into small cubes, add the juice of the lime and garlic to taste and stir.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and add the rest of the shredded chicken on top.
- Serve with a dollop of soured cream and the acovado salsa scattered on top.
For some added crunch, crumble a few tortilla chips onto to the top of the soup before eating. But not too many or they will go soggy :).
This works really well reheated the next day and is great for a packed lunch where there is access to a mircowave. Just make sure the soup is piping hot when reheated because of the rice and the chicken.