By Chef Amanda DeLaura
Welcome to my Western take on a classic chicken and noodle soup! Because of the beans and spice of the habanero pepper, this soup almost resembles a chili. I couldn’t decide which to call it, so I settled on soup since it feels weird having shredded chicken in a “chili”. It’s an especially great weeknight meal as you can easily alternate between squashes, replace the kidney beans for any legume you have on hand, substitute the corn for whatever grain is in the pantry, and alternate the kale for whatever greens you have in the fridge (spinach, dandelion, etc.) You get the point, it’s easily adaptable and wonderfully hearty. Go make yourself a pot, feast on its plenty, and bon appétit!
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts with bone and skin
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped carrot
1 finely chopped celery stalk
1 tsp pink real salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2-1 acorn squash, pumpkin or butternut squash, chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 cloves thinly sliced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups chicken broth
1 can kidney beans (14 oz)
1 small can corn (8 oz)
1 charred poblano pepper, skinned & chopped*
3 stems chopped kale
1/2 lime, for garnish
1/2 bunch cilantro, for garnish
1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and once
shimmering, add the 2 chicken breasts skin side down. Cook until the skin is browned and crispy, flip and remove from the pan. Immediately add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Cook until the vegetables are translucent and softened, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. If they begin to burn, reduce heat to medium-low.
2. Add the chopped squash, sliced garlic and cumin. Cook for another minute, until
aromatic and immediately add the 4 cups chicken broth, beans, corn and chopped poblano pepper. Place the 2 chicken breasts back into the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat, remove the chicken breasts from the pot, pull the chicken from the bone with two forks and return all of the pulled chicken to the pot. Add the chopped kale, mix gently with a wooden spoon, and let sit for a minute to allow the kale to wilt. Serve into six bowls and garnish each with fresh cilantro leaves and lime juice. This will store well in the fridge for up to four days.
NOTE* I like to char my peppers over and open flame or grill. Char until blackened on all sides. Place in a paper bag and let sit for five minutes (this will help the skin detach from the flesh). Peel, seed and chop the pepper into small pieces.