While preparing for Thanksgiving is everyone's focus, we still have to eat! Here's an easy dinner solution - chicken tomatillo soup. With mild chili pepper and spices to warm you up, you will eat healthy as we head into the busy holiday season. And the good news is it's easily made with leftover chicken and a few pantry items.
Making this soup is quick when there's leftover roast chicken or rotisserie chicken from the store. No leftover chicken? Roast bone-in breasts following these directions. Two chicken breasts is enough for the soup. Roast the chicken while you are getting the soup ready.
When the chicken is done, shred the meat for the soup. Another option is to make this after Thanksgiving and use leftover roast turkey. Ground, browned turkey works too and it easy to have on hand.
All you need is a good sized soup pot, like a Dutch oven. If you love to cook and don't have one, they are an investment that will last a lifetime with proper care.
Start with Pantry Staples
With already cooked roast chicken, homemade chicken broth in the freezer or pantry, plus staples of onion, garlic, spices, and pinto beans, this soup comes together easily.
For the Salsa Verde
For the tomatillo salsa verde, use my simple homemade recipe or Trader Joe's in a jar. I make salsa verde in batches and freeze it so I always have it on hand for soup, enchiladas, tacos and more. It's super easy. In a pinch, use jarred.
Mild Anaheim chili adds nice flavor to this soup then add a jalapeno for the kick. Its optional if you don't like spicy food. For Mexican flavor I use ground cumin and coriander coriander plus ancho chili pepper. Cumin and coriander have a lemony flavor and the ancho chili pepper adds mild heat and richness.
For more protein and fiber I add canned, whole pinto beans.
With a little vegetable prep work and leftover chicken (or turkey) this soup is a snap and super satisfying.
Cook the onions, celery, and chilies until soft. Then add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the spices and allow them to "bloom", that is rehydrate and release their flavors. Next, add the chicken broth, shredded chicken and beans. Heat soup until hot, about 20 minutes. Garnish as desired. It's so good!
How to Serve: Garnishes
For me, this soup would not be complete without the fresh garden flavor of chopped cilantro. If you are a cilantro hater, use fresh chopped flat leaf parsley for a nice fresh finish.
Other garnishes include a little cheese and diced, buttery avocado. For cheese, grated Jack or shredded Mexican blend work great. Add a green salad for a terrific lunch or dinner ready for your family. Make it ahead when you have time.
Soup will hold for 3 days in the fridge and freezes too.
If you enjoy Mexican flavors, try this grilled flank steak, Mexican style, It's great on the grill.
Chicken Tomatillo Soup
- A large soup pot
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 mild fresh green Anaheim chili chopped fine
- ½ jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¾ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 2 ½ cups tomatillo salsa verde homemade or Trader Joes
- 3 cups chicken or turkey broth (low or no sodium) preferably homemade
- 12 ounces shredded roast chicken about 2 cups
- 2 15 ounce cans pinto beans rinsed and drained
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon grouend black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley
- 4 ounces grated Jack cheese or Mexican blend
- ½ avocado quartered and diced
- Heat olive oil in a large 4-5 quart pot or Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add onion, celery and both chilies. Cook, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add cumin, coriander and ancho chili pepper and cook another 3-5 minutes to allow spices to bloom.
- Turn heat up to medium and add salsa, chicken broth, chicken and beans. Heat soup until hot, about 20 minutes. Serve with cilantro, cheese and avocado if desired. Leftovers keep 3 days in the refrigerator or freezes.