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!