This past week at my annual winter soups cooking class, the enthusiastic students managed to down three main course potages along with a basket of warm breads and a colorful salad. The menu included a pureed tomato and garlic soup served with Gorgonzola brushette, a hearty French smoked sausage and vegetable mélange, and a spicy chicken, black bean, and chipotle chili. Although the class declared all delicious, it was the chili that drew them back for seconds and even thirds. At the end of the night, I asked the group if they would use these recipes in the days ahead. “Yes,” they answered, “for Oscar Night this Sunday!” “Which one?” I asked. “That spicy chili,” they replied.
It didn’t take long for me to decide to share this special recipe with readers since the Academy Awards are this Sunday night. (Get your ballots out.) Made with diced white meat chicken in place of beef, this spicy chili is seasoned with cumin and oregano, but gets its kick from chipotle chili powder. The chicken is simmered in a flavorful mixture of stock and tomatoes until fork tender, then the beans are added. As garnishes, dollops of orange-scented sour cream, chopped red onions, and a sprinkle of cilantro are spooned atop each serving.
Whether your favorites receive statuettes or not, this soup is a definite winner to share with fellow movie fans!
Chicken, Black Bean, and Chipotle Chili Topped with Orange Scented Sour Cream
5 tbsp canola oil, plus more if needed
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 1 /2 cups chopped red onion
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder, plus more if needed
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
One 28-oz can diced tomatoes, drained well
1 tbsp tomato paste
Two 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
One 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 to 3 tsp fresh orange juice
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1. Heat 4 tbsp of the oil until hot in a 4- to 5-qt deep-sided pot set over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes or more. Remove to a platter. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the onions, and stir until softened and transparent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir 1 minute more. Stir in cumin, oregano, 1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder, and 1 tsp salt. Add the stock, tomatoes, and tomato paste and return the chicken to the pot. Stir well to mix.
2. Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat, and cover. Cook until chicken is very tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 20 minutes. Raise heat to medium high and add all the beans. Cook 10 to 15 minutes more until the mixture has thickened slightly. Taste chili and season with salt if needed. If you would like the chili to have a spicier taste, add 1/4 to1/2 tsp more chipotle pepper. (The chili can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring.)
3. To serve, place the sour cream in a serving bowl and whisk in the orange zest and 2 to 3 tsp of juice. Ladle soup into 6 bowls and garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and with sprinkles of chopped red onion and cilantro. Serves 6.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2014
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