Spicy Chicken Soup

The best thing about this soup is, of course, how great it tastes. And all the better since the taste can be adjusted to suit all sorts of palates. While this can indeed be a "spicy" soup — as in hot and fiery — perhaps a better adjective would be "spiced." "As written, it is very minimal in the spice department," says chef and recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate. However, with a few small tweaks, this same recipe can yield a soup that'll really bring on the heat.

In either case, the other best thing about Rapone's soup is that it's very easy to make. "I really think it's the same or easier [than most soups]," she says. "For the most part, soups start with a sauté, then [adding] seasonings, liquid, and the other 'chunky stuff,' [then] cooking. That's what this recipe does, too. You have to shred the chicken, but that's not hard."

As laid out here, this recipe yields a nutritious and protein-rich dish that's a great lunch or dinner. To make it a fuller meal, Rapone recommends pairing it with a pepper jack grilled cheese. Because what goes well with spicy soup? Even more spicy stuff.

Gather your ingredients for spicy chicken soup

This recipe calls for a lot of ingredients, but don't worry, because it really is easy to prepare once the chopping and measuring is done. You'll need carrots, fresh jalapeño, canola or vegetable oil, chopped onion (fresh or frozen), cumin, ancho powder (you can substitute a chili powder blend, or cayenne if you want it extra spicy), ground cinnamon, kosher salt, red enchilada sauce (mild, medium, or hot), low-sodium chicken broth, canned chopped tomatoes, black beans, vegetable or chicken bouillon paste (or cubed bouillon), garlic powder, boneless skinless chicken thighs, canned hominy, frozen corn, red wine vinegar, and honey. In addition, gather some items for garnishing, with the ideal choices being cilantro, radish, sour cream, avocado, and/or lime.

Begin cooking the vegetables, then add the spices

Peel and chop the carrots, and dice the onion. Then comes the jalapeño. If you want the soup more mild, cut off the ends of the jalapeño, split it down the middle, and scrape out the seeds and ribs. If you want the soup more spicy, chop the jalapeño as-is, removing only the stem.

Next, add the oil to a large pot or Dutch oven, and heat it over medium-high until the oil is hot (but not smoking). Add the onion, carrot, and jalapeño, and sauté until the onions just begin to brown. Then, add the cumin, ancho powder, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of the salt, and stir to combine. Cook with the spices added for abut 60 to 90 seconds.

Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, and then the chicken

Add the chicken broth, enchilada sauce, tomatoes (with their liquid), bouillon, and the beans. Then, stir to combine. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. While the mixture is coming to a boil, mix the garlic powder with the remaining ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and use this mixture to season the chicken thighs.

Once the mixture in the pot is boiling, carefully add the chicken thighs to the soup. Next, place the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the soup for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (meaning an internal temperature of 165 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit).

Finish the spicy chicken soup, then serve and garnish

While the soup is simmering away, drain liquid from the hominy. (FYI, hominy is basically just dried corn kernels treated with a lye solution so they fluff up and soften.)

Once the chicken has cooked completely, remove the pieces of meat from the pot, and put them into to a medium bowl or casserole dish. Then, add the frozen corn, drained hominy, vinegar, and honey to the pot, and stir. Simmer the soup while you shred the chicken with a pair of forks, and then add the shredded chicken back to the soup, stirring everything together once more.

Finally, serve out your portions, garnish them as you'd like, and enjoy!

Spicy Chicken Soup
5 from 24 ratings
This spicy chicken soup is a nutritious and protein-rich dish that's great for lunch or dinner. For a fuller meal, pair it with a pepper jack grilled cheese.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
35
minutes
Servings
5
Servings
bowl of spicy chicken soup
Total time: 45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 to 1 ¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeño
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onion (or substitute ½ medium yellow onion, chopped)
  • 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 14.5-ounce can black beans
  • 28-ounce can hominy
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth (or one 28-ounce carton)
  • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho powder (may substitute chili powder blend, or cayenne if you want it extra spicy)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 10-ounce can red enchilada sauce (mild, medium, or hot)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable or chicken bouillon paste, or 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Optional Ingredients
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • radish, for garnish
  • sour cream, for garnish
  • avocado, for garnish
  • lime, for garnish
Directions
  1. Peel and chop carrot. Then, if you want the soup more mild, cut off the ends of the jalapeño, split down the middle and scrape out the seeds and ribs. If you want the soup more spicy, chop the jalapeño as-is.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of oil to a large pot or Dutch oven and heat over medium-high until hot (but not smoking). Then, add the chopped onion, chopped carrot, and jalapeño and sauté until the onions just begin to brown.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of ancho powder, ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of the salt, and stir to combine. Toast the spices for 60 to 90 seconds.
  4. Add 2 cans of chicken broth, the can of red enchilada sauce, the can of chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of vegetable or chicken bouillon paste, and the can of black beans, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. While the mixture is coming to a boil, mix 1 teaspoon of garlic powder with the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Use this mixture to season the chicken thighs.
  6. Once the mixture in the pot is boiling, carefully add the chicken thighs, then place the lid on the pot and reduce to low and simmer for 20 to 25 min, until the chicken is cooked through (an internal temperature of 165 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit).
  7. While simmering, drain liquid from the hominy.
  8. Once the chicken has cooked completely, remove the chicken from the pot to a medium bowl or casserole dish.
  9. Add 1 cup of frozen corn, the drained hominy, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of honey to the pot. Simmer while you shred the chicken.
  10. Add the shredded chicken back to the soup, stir.
  11. Garnish and serve!
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