Recipe for Floribean chicken chili soup
What's the difference between soup and stew? In my mind, it's all about the proportion of liquid to solids. More liquid: soup. More solids: stew. Don't take my word for it, however; the wise folks at WiseGeek agree. This soup is a bit of a cheat, because it started as a recipe for stew. While I was making Floribean chicken chili for a post on The Perfect Pantry, I had an epiphany. If I took some liquid and solids out of the pot before the liquid reduced completely, I'd end up with a wonderful soup and a delicious stew. (Check out the photos of the stew. You'll see the difference.) You can use this technique with almost any stew (beef stew soup? vegetable stew soup?). It works particularly well with this chili, which calls for quite a bit of stock that cooks down to thicken the stew.
Floribean chicken chili soup
Serves 6-8; can be frozen.
2-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 onion, divided (half cut into two large chunks, half diced)
1 carrot, halved
2 celery ribs, halved
2 bay leaves
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 black peppercorns
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 4-oz can roasted green chiles
4 oz diced chicken andouille or other spicy sausage
2 tsp each ground coriander, cumin, and chili powder (mild or hot, to taste)
1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 oz tomato paste
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp chopped chipotle pepper in adobo
1 tsp agave nectar or honey, or more to taste
Place chicken along with the two large chunks of onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, lime juice, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander and peppercorns in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a bowl. Strain broth through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into another bowl, and set aside. Shred the chicken and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add chopped onions, green chiles and sausage; cook for 8 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons each of coriander, cumin and chili powder; cook 3-4 minutes, stirring. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, molasses, chipotle, agave or honey, and reserved chicken cooking liquid. Simmer 15 minutes. Add beans and chicken. Cook for 10 minutes longer.
Serve with crusty bread or warm tortillas and a green salad.