NOTES: I have placed the notes in the beginning, because they are important today. Sometimes they are not, but if done incorrectly, you may rise the ire of vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Come to think of it, the soup can also be vegan, and nothing is as scary as a group of self-righteous vegans, namaste or not.
If serving to meat eaters and meat eaters only, add shredded chicken to the onion, garlic, spice mix.
If serving a mixed group of those who feast on the flesh of animals and those who do not: cook chicken but tell meat eaters to add some shredded deliciousness before ladling in the soup
If serving vegetarians, use veggie stock and bouillon. Top with cheese and sour cream.
If serving vegans, use veggie stock and bouillon.
INGREDIENTS for soup: 2 whole boneless chicken breasts, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder (I used pulverized crushed red pepper), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 small onion, 1 yellow pepper, 3 cloves of garlic minced, 2 cans of whole tomatoes (I used 1 can plus 1 few oven roasted tomatoes hanging out in the fridge), 1 can of green chilies, 4 cups of vegetable stock (I used veggie boullion), 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 cups of water, 2 cans of drained black beans, 1 tablespoon of corn starch, tortilla match sticks (recipe follows).
FOR THE GARNISHES:Sour Cream, Diced Avocado, Diced Red Onion, Salsa Or Pico De Gallo, Grated Monterey Jack Cheese, Cilantro
DIRECTIONS:Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.
Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine.
Pour in tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Mix cornstarch with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.
Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)
THE TORTILLA MATCHSTICKS:
Thinly slice tortillas, toss with a glug of olive oil, and bake for 10 minutes at 350F. Season with a pinch of salt.