The Turning Point :: Organic Chicken, Roasted Poblano, Pumpkin + Black Bean Soup


Oh, summer.  We’re going to miss you.  Your ruby watermelon, just-picked berries and luscious stone fruit will soon be just a memory.  Pomegranates, persimmons and hearty winter squash will begin to take your place at the farmers’ market as fall makes its slow debut.

Although summer 2011 has two weeks left to live, we’re definitely at a juncture.  So, let’s ease in slowly, shall we? Sort of like dipping a toe into the pool to check the temperature before diving in … just to be safe.

This hearty recipe incorporates a very quintessential fall ingredient:  pumpkin.  It’s not only used as a thickening agent, but it also adds incredible depth of flavor (without tasting one bit like pumpkin pie, I promise).  If you have any Chicken Tortilla Soup fans in your house, this is a must try.

While the football game lulls everyone else to sleep on the couch, try making a double batch to carry over into the week.  With generous amounts of cumin, coriander and a hint of cinnamon quietly simmering away, you’ll happily settle into fall in no time flat.


3 Poblano peppers (bell peppers may also be used)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely diced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

½ tablespoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 15 ounce can organic pumpkin purée (fresh may also be used, if you have the time – just roast and purée away!)

4 cups cooked black beans

6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth/stock

Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste


Over an open flame, like the burners on a gas stove, place the peppers directly on the fire, turning frequently with tongs, until well-charred on all sides (about 5-7 minutes, please watch carefully).  Remove from the flame and place in a brown paper bag for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the bag, peel off the skin, remove the stem and seeds and roughly dice the peppers.

(*Note, you can also use raw Poblano peppers if you’d like to skip this step.  Just be sure to remove the seeds and ribs so the soup isn’t too spicy.)

In a large pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Over medium heat, cook the breasts for about 5-7 minutes per side, until just cooked all the way through.  Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.  Shred each breast with two forks, holding the meat with one and pulling with the other.

In the same pot over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon olive oil and the onion and garlic, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn (add raw Poblano peppers here, if using).  Let cook for about 4 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent.  Add the cumin, coriander and cinnamon and cook for another 2 minutes to gently toast the spices.

Add the pumpkin, roasted Poblano peppers, shredded chicken, black beans and broth/stock and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper and gently bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes with the lid on, slightly vented.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired + enjoy!

{Serves 4-6}


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This looks so hearty and flavorful! It’s perfect for autumn, and I love the pumpkin color of the soup.


Thanks, Jess. The pumpkin was actually an after thought, but it made all the difference in the world. Love when that happens.

Love this! Chicken tortilla soup is my comfort food: I go to it under any number of states of duress/despair/illness. Never have I considered adding pumpkin! Amazing and inventive, per usual. 🙂

Thanks, Kimberley. I love that you turn to Chicken Tortilla Soup under duress. Try the pumpkin, if you get the chance. It’s such a subtle flavor but really adds a lot of depth to the broth.

Adding pumpkin is a wonderful idea! I agree with you that this is the best way to dip your toe into fall even though it is very hard to say goodbye to summer. Love your bowls, too 🙂

Thanks, Nicole. Yes, I always tend to resist but then the cozy food of fall always seems to win me over.

So you don’t allow anyone to post that doesn’t agree 100%?

Sad, sad, sad and pathetic.


Hi Brenda, thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment. It’s always very appreciated. I’m not sure what you’re referring to, however?

Okay, based on our email conversations my previous comment that was never posted was something along the lines of:

I made this soup because I had all the ingredients on hand and I didn’t care for it. The flavor was bland and thin with no complexity. The meal wasn’t a total loss because I was able to spin it into a version of my chicken tortilla soup. I do absolutely love the addition of pumpkin to add fiber and antioxidants. That is inspired and will be a permanent addition to future soups.

To answer your question about how closely I followed the recipe:
I had homemade homemade turkey stock that I made with the Thanksgiving carcass and had frozen to save for a soup. I had some turkey frozen separately (breast and dark combo) good stuff saved for soup. I had roasted hatch pepper from the case I bought in August in the freezer.

Those are basically the changes I made. I was quite excited to see so many things I was looking forward to cooking with listed in the title. I even had fresh cilantro!

I was able to morph it into my soup and I even learned the pumpkin in the soup trick so it wasn’t a wasted effort but if I wasn’t able to think on my feet, as it were, it would have been a disappointment.


Thanks for taking the time to re-submit your comment, Brenda. I’m sorry the recipe didn’t entirely work out for you. It was also posted on with good results, but perhaps I’ll go back and do a re-test to make sure the spices are correct. Again, many thanks for your feedback; it’s always greatly appreciated.


I don’t know if you’re still checking comments to this post but I made this last night. It was super easy and delicious (I cheated and used a food processor for the onion and used minced garlic). My poblanos were pretty spicy so I didn’t get a lot of the pumpkin flavor. I added a dollop of plain yogurt to mine because I’m a spice wuss. Good stuff! I wish I had nutritional info from this page but I think I figured it out. Thanks for the recipe!


Thanks for the feedback, Candace. Poblanos can be tricky — sometimes they’re milder than others, I’ve found. Nonetheless, I’m happy you enjoyed (and shortcuts are always welcome.)!


This is on the stove simmering right now and let me tell you the house smells AHHMAAZING! I only omited the coriander because I didnt have it. I have doneva taste test. This is going to be a regular! Thank you!


Thanks, Heather! I’m so glad you’ve found success — it’s one of my favorites!

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