On a cold, windy winter day, one of my favourite things to make is a hearty pot of soup. It is so versatile. There are no hard and fast rules – anything goes. Start with a good base, use what you have on hand ~ be creative!
This morning I planned on making my classic chicken and rice soup, but half a cabbage in my fridge was awaiting transformation. This led to an unintentional shift in direction.
I began with my usual chicken soup base of onion, celery and carrot and added the lonely, left-over the cabbage. The mixture was too pale for my liking so I added a jar of salsa. There was a cup of green peppers from the garden still in the freezer, so in they went. Corn added a touch of yellow and considering it is the International Year of Pulses, a can of black of beans seemed in order.
Suddenly my chicken soup had a ‘southwest fiesta’ zip to it – not what I intended, but the results were delicious! A colourful, fabulous warm-you-right-up, meal-in-a-bowl. Carbohydrates ✓ Protein ✓ Fibre ✓ Veggies ✓ Lunches for the week ahead ✓ Flavourful ✓✓✓
Give it a try! Measurements are not set in stone, but I like at least half my pot to filled with veggies. Always aim for Half Your Plate! Feel free to adjust amounts to your taste.
Southwest Fiesta Chicken Soup
- 2–4 cloves of garlic
- 1 large onion
- ¼ – ½ head of cabbage
- 4–6 carrots
- 2–4 stalks of celery
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup brown rice
- 900 ml chicken stock
- 418 ml jar of salsa (mild, medium or hot)
- 1 ½ cups frozen corn
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 4 + cups of water, to desired thickness
- 540 ml can black beans
- 2 – 4 cooked chicken breasts
- Crushed corn chips
- Shredded Cheese
- Sliced green onions
- Finely chop garlic and set aside.*
- Dice onions, cabbage, carrots and celery.
- In Dutch Oven or stock pot, warm canola oil over medium heat.
- Throw in diced veggies, season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 10 minutes or until softened.
- Toss in garlic, sauté additional 1–2 minutes.
- Add rice, chicken stock, salsa, corn, green pepper and water.
- Cover the pot, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30–45 minutes.
- Drain and rinse beans, dice chicken. Stir into soup . Warm thoroughly.
- Serve as is or garnish with corn chips, shredded cheese & green onion.
*Pro-tip for garlic from Professional Home Economist Mairlyn Smith – “For its antioxidants to become more bioavailable, garlic needs to oxidize before it is added to a recipe. By letting it sit there “breathing” the oxidation can take place.”