The first snow of the season fell in Chicago last weekend. I felt giddy as I watched the flakes under a blanket from the comfort of my sofa with a mug of soup in hand. The view from our front window was beautiful, but when I had to get suited up in winter gear and attempt the same for a toddler, that excitement melted away.
I am already over the production it is to go outside during these cold temperatures, but I can’t get enough warmth in the form of food like this chipotle chicken soup. It was spicy and everything I needed to for this first taste of winter weather. Black beans and rice made it a hearty, stick to your ribs kind of bowl of soup.
Chipotle Chicken Soup
Adapted from Flour, Too by Joanne Chang
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 canned chipotle chile, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1-28 ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
2 quarts water
2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
2-15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until they start to soften. Stir in the carrots and garlic and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken breasts, chipotle chile and cumin. Brown the chicken turning once, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken, set aside and simmer for another 50 minutes.
Stir in the rice and continue simmering for 15 minutes.
When the chicken has cooled slightly, use a fork to shred the meat from the bones. Discard the skin. Add the chicken, black beans, zucchini and oregano and simmer for 10 minutes until the rice is cooked and the zucchini is tender.
While simmering, if the soup seems too thick, add up to 1 cup of water. Before serving, add the cilantro and the lime juice.
Store the soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.