Stew? In the middle of summer? Yes, I’ve gotten a case of seasonal identity crisis. Last week was a scorching 100+ degrees; this week we’re in the mid-80’s and it almost feels chilly!
I was also in need of a soup to bring to a sick friend that would freeze well in case she doesn’t have much of an appetite right away.
You could call this a soup, a stew, a chili, or a chile. Joel calls it “the soup you send me to hunting camp with”. So now, in the middle of July, I’ve brought October into the house and a warm (freezable) meal to warm a friend’s house with this easy, affordable Southwestern Chicken & Green Chile Stew.
This soup is amazing because first of all, it’s delicious and filling, high in fiber and protein, but light on the calories and sodium.
Second, it’s gluten free, dairy free, it can be vegetarian (skip the chicken or sub vegetarian “meat” crumbles), you can change the bean combination to your favorites and you can make it as spicy or as bland as your taste buds need it to be.
First things first, cheat a little. Buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store because this will save you tons of time and add an unexpected layer of flavor (translation: will seem like you slaved all afternoon perfectly roasting a chicken for this stew).
The easy part of the prep for this recipe is opening up your cans and pouring off the liquid from the green chiles and the beans. Since we’re not adding flour or cornstarch, leave a tiny amount of liquid in the beans as a thickener for your soup.
I like to pre-measure my spices into their caps to have them at the ready.
Peel and cut down your sweet potato into 1-inch cubes. I like to slice, then quarter. I also like to use a good old fashioned sweet potato, but you could use any variety of yam too.
Mince the garlic and chop up your onion.
Now it’s time to get cooking!
Heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and let it sweat it out a little.
Once they are translucent, add the minced garlic, spices and salt.
Cook, stirring for 2-4 minutes, to allow the spices and oil to infuse but be careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the diced sweet potatoes and stir to combine. You want the spices, garlic, onion and oils to coat the potato pieces.
And now all havoc breaks loose and we’re getting messy ~ throw everything into the pool! Add the beans, tomatoes, and green chiles into the pot.
Pour in the chicken broth,
the balsamic vinegar,
and drizzle in the agave.
Bring to a boil, then drop down to a simmer for 30-35 minutes; just until the potatoes get tender, but not mushy. We’re not making mashed potatoes here.
While the soup is simmering, get to work on your store bought rotisserie chicken. For a single batch, I hand tear the breast meat. For a double, I’ll shred and use the whole chicken.
When the potatoes are tender, add the beautifully shredded chicken and the juice of half a lime.
How much lime is a personal preference. I started with a quarter of a lime and it wasn’t potent enough, so I upped it to half.
At this point, turn off the heat and serve with extra lime wedges and cornbread. Fresh cilantro or chopped scallions on top would be a great touch for another layer of flavor. Fresh diced jalapeno and a dollop of sour cream wouldn’t hurt one bit either.
The possibilities are endless!
Trust your taste buds and you be the judge.
If you’ve cooked off too much liquid, or want your soup a little runnier, add more broth.
If your chili powder or green chiles made it too spicy, add a touch more agave. Sweetness balances out spicy.
If it’s not spicy enough, add a touch of cayenne powder or some diced jalapeno.
If you like the uniqueness of the balsamic vinegar, add a snooch more.
Let me know what substitutions you decide to make! Once you have your favorite combinations figured out for this soup, go ahead and call it your own recipe. But remember to write it down because the people you share this soup with WILL ask you for the recipe, I promise!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 sweet potato or yam, peeled & cubed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½-1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 - 15oz cans beans, partially drained (1 pinto/1 white kidney, or sub for black beans, red kidney, garbanzo, etc - any combination will work)
- 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1.5 cups fire roasted diced green chiles (canned or fresh, mild or hot)
- 2-2.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
- drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- drizzle of agave
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded (rotisserie, baked, grilled, boiled)
- juice of ½ a lime, or to taste + lime wedges for serving
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and warm the olive oil.
- Add onions and sweat them out until they are translucent.
- Add garlic, spices and salt on top of the onions and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the oil and spices to infuse, but be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add sweet potatoes, stir and cook another minute more.
- Add beans, green chiles, tomatoes, broth, vinegar and agave. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower to a simmer for 30-35 minutes. Just until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Add the shredded chicken and lime juice at the end of the cooking process so the chicken doesn't break down too much and the lime flavor remains bright and fresh.
- Serve with lime wedges, chopped cilantro or fresh jalapeno slices.