Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup

I alluded to this recipe the other day, but here it is in full: Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup.

I’d recommend making this soup “by the book” (if it can be “by the book,” given that it comes from the Internets) the first time, and then you can play around with it after that. This last time that I made it, I only had a 3-cup portion of chicken stock in the freezer, so I added a teaspoon of beef “Better Than Bouillon,” just to see what the beef flavor would do (didn’t notice much difference). I also had a big bottle of Pace salsa sometime earlier this spring that I was afraid would go bad, so I froze 2 cups worth and just dumped the frozen brick into the crockpot along with the frozen chicken stock. I was “quick soaking” the beans, so I added them after the other liquids heated up.

Also, this time around I didn’t have any sour cream on hand, but I did have some leftover cilantro cream sauce, so that’s what I added at the end of the day, after everything else had cooked on high for around 6 hours. Finally, I didn’t have any raw chicken, so I pulled pieces off of last night’s rotisserie chicken and sprinkled them on top of our soup.

To put it plainly, you can’t go wrong with these flavors. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and you’re golden: cheese covereth a multitude of cooking blunders.

This soup is super easy, healthy and totally tasty. Do yourself a favor and make it!

Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken
1 cup dried black beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup sliced mushrooms [JR doesn’t eat mushrooms, so I’ve never used them]
1 cup frozen corn [or more, if you love corn and don’t add the mushrooms!]
1 jar prepared salsa (16 oz) [I froze some in 2 c. portions]
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup sour cream (to stir in at the end)
shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, cilantro (all optional and used as garnish)

Directions:

You will need a 4 quart or larger crockpot.

If you know you are going to make this the night before,  soak the black beans in enough water to cover and another 2 inches overnight. In the morning, drain the water and rinse the beans.

If you don’t have super hard water or live in a super high altitude, you can quick soak the beans by pouring boiling water over them and let them sit for an hour or two. I did an hour, but 2 would really be better if you have the time.

Drain and rinse the beans. Add to the crockpot. Put in the chicken, and add the broth and salsa. Pour in the corn and mushrooms, and add the cumin. Stir, but don’t disturb the beans—let them stay at the bottom of the pot, closest to the heating element.

Cover and cook on high for 9 hours, checking occasionally for the doneness (the beans should be soft when you bite into them, and not dry). If you are using beans you soaked overnight, canned beans, or pre-cooked beans, you can cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5–similar to normal soup-cooking time.

If you’d like to thicken the broth, you can use your immersible blender to blend a bit of the beans and chicken. If you don’t have one, scoop out 2 cups of the soup and carefully blend in your traditonal blender. Stir the mixture back into the crockpot.

Stir in the 1/2 cup of sour cream before serving, and garnish with shredded cheese and avocado slices.