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Smoky South of The Border Soup

This one is sure to become a family favorite! I made this on a whim. My toddler was taking his nap, my baby was happily cooing away...and so I went to work in the kitchen! Some of my best creations come spontaneously rather than from careful, conscious planning (though there are those as well). Often, as I'm scanning the ingredients on hand in my fridge and in my pantry, ideas will jump out at me. Such was the case today. Two things initially stood out to me: Bone-in chicken and a can of chipotles en adobo. I instantly knew I wanted to use them...somehow. The clock was toddler would be awake from his nap before I grabbed the ingredients and set to work! Pacing myself, like a candidate on the TV show "Chopped", I hustled about, grabbing this and grabbing that in order to get this dish finished on time. The end result: Smoky South of The Border Soup. You're going to love this recipe. My in-home panel of food critics presented their verdict: It's a winner!

I love chipotles en adobo. They are smoked jalapeno peppers in a red sauce. The end result yields a smoky, rich flavor that literally transforms any dish in which they're used. Although still spicy, some of the edge is taken off by the marinating process.

This soup is easy to make and, aside from preparing the homemade chicken broth, takes about 5 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook. You can make the broth the day before to save time. Freezing broth is another great option, and that way you'll conveniently have it on hand when you need it.

  • 2 chicken thighs and 2 drumsticks (or any combination of bone-in, skin-on chicken that equals about 2 cups cooked shredded chicken) (Vegetarian/Vegan: use chicken substitute such as President's Choice Vegetarian Chicken and shred it)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 chipotles en adobo, chopped, remove the seeds if you prefer less spicy (canned chipotles en adobo can be found in any Mexican store or well-stocked grocery store in the Mexican section)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can Great Northern beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock (vegetarian/vegan: use vegetable broth)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • Sour cream for topping (vegans: use sour cream substitute such as Tofutti Sour Supreme)


  1. Place the chicken in a stock pot with 5 cups water. Add a stalk of celery and a carrot cut into 2-inch pieces. Add a bay leaf and a few black peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Discard the vegetables and bay leaf. Place the chicken on a plate and discard the skin. Shred the meat with two forks. Set the meat aside. Once the chicken stock has cooled, skim the fat off the surface and discard.
  2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high. Saute the onion until translucent and just beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute. Add the red bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. 
  3. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and shredded Cheddar cheese, if desired.

Need more help? Check out step-by-step instructions of this recipe at The Daring Gourmet.

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Recipe contributed by Kimberly Killebrew, author of The Daring Gourmet. Join her on a food adventure and check out what's cooking!

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