Chicken and White Bean Soup

This winter has been crazy. With the exception of a light dusting of snow on the night of January 1st and an ice storm a few weeks ago, it’s been ridiculously mild. As I write this entry, it’s a sunny and gorgeous Sunday afternoon and the high for today is 45 degrees F. (Last week, we had two days where it hit 60 degrees F, and most days were in the mid-50s!)

Without a frigid winter, my motivation to make and eat soups and stews has been nearly non-existent! Soups are supposed to warm you on a cold night, heat you from the inside out, and make you remember that each winter day that passes is one day closer to spring and summer.

With two local, free-range, hormone-free, Amish chicken breasts in the freezer, some organic chicken broth in the pantry, and my stash of canned beans on the shelves, I had originally thought of making a green chili for dinner Saturday night. Without any onions or peppers in my inventory, I realized as it all simmered in my Crock Pot that it wasn’t much of a chili at all — it was a nice-looking soup. With the many spices I added, it had plenty of spicy heat that doubled-up on the temperature heat.

Perfect for a winter night… but be prepared to sweat if it’s more than 25 degrees F outside!

Chicken White Bean Soup
Makes four to six meal-sized servings.

  • One 4-cup carton of organic chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts (organic, free-range, etc.)
  • 1 can organic white beans (such as great northern, white kidney, etc.)
  • 2 tsp chili powder (less if you want it less spicy)
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp dried mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • fresh-milled black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic

In a small pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat and add minced garlic. Cook until golden brown. De-glaze the pan with the 1 cup of water, scraping up any garlic that has stuck to the pan.

Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot and sprinkle the garlic powder on the entire surface of each breast, rubbing it in a little bit. Add the garlic-water mixture and all remaining ingredients. (If the chicken isn’t submerged, add some water until they are. If you add more than a cup of water, add 1/4 tsp salt to the pot.) Cook with the Crock Pot set to “high” for 2-3 hours or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Remove chicken breasts and shred with two forks. Return shredded chicken to the crock pot, stir, lower heat to “warm” setting, and let cook for another 20-30 minutes.

Serve while hot.

NOTES:
– If you use fresh chicken breasts instead of frozen, the cooking time will be lesser. Just keep an eye on it.
– Cooking time can vary depending on the size of the chicken breasts you use. Mine were very thick, so it took about 2hrs to 2hrs 15mins for mine to cook all the way through. If yours are bigger, it will take more time; smaller, it’ll take less time. Again, keep an eye on it.
– If you want to add veggies, go ahead! I just didn’t have any on me. Carrots, onion, celery… whatever! Add the veggies with the other ingredients.
– This is great on its own with some bread and/or a salad on the side.
– You can add rice to the pot, too, if you’d like. Just put whatever rice you’d like about 45 minutes after you start cooking, when the liquid in the Crock Pot is hot.

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