Chicken and heirloom beans tortilla soup, with krunchy-kale chips

IMG_2515Nothing quite like a steaming bowl of homemade soup on a cold and wet evening, as you hear the rain pitter-patter outside. This is my version of a chicken tortilla soup, with ingredients straight from my fridge and pantry. Nope, I wasn’t in the mood to go grocery shopping on a rainy day. So I tossed in celery, onions, baby bell peppers, fresh and canned crushed tomatoes, fresh thyme, seasonings and of course, chicken, in my handy Dutch oven and let it simmer and cook away merrily. For a heartier texture and flavour, I also added cooked organic dried Mexican heirloom beans, which I happened to pick up on my visit to farmers market. Basically, red kidney beans or any other dried beans will also do. Chicken + beans = protein punch for the day! A squeeze of lemon juice and a garnish of fresh cilantro and avocado slices. A hearty, flavourful and healthy one pot soup, great for your soul, and in my case great for my husband and little daughter too!:-)
Served with a side of my krunchy-kale chips. I’m a big fan of kale and dark greens. Unfortunately, my family’s not in the same boat as me! So I tried this healthy recipe of making kale chips. Tossed the kale with extra virgin olive oil and baked it in the oven. Voila! Crispy and crunchy kale chips, which nobody can say no to! Period.

Serves 4

1/2 lb.boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small cubes
14 oz can unsalted crushed tomatoes
1 tomato, chopped
1 small onion, choppedIMG_2506
5-6 baby bell peppers. Can substitute with one large bell pepper, any colour.
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, choppe
A tiny sprig of fresh thyme.IMG_2508
1/2 tsp. dried oregano.
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. Mexican red chile powder. Can use cayenne, for added spice.
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. tsp. cumin powder
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup dried Mexican heirloom  beans
Beans stock – 4 cups
A few slices of avocado
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of a lemon or lime

Soak the beans for a few hours in cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 35-40 mins. One can also use a pressure cooker, for sIMG_2507peedie


r cooking. Reserve the stock after the beans are cooked.

Heat a tbsp. or so of olive oil in Dutch oven or soup pot, over medium heat. Sauté the onions, celery and bell peppers for 5-7 minutes. Add the chopped garlic. Add the thyme


sprig(discard the stem after the soup is cooked), bay leaf, oregano and spices. Sauté for a minute. Add the chicken pieces. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add all the tomatoes. Sauté for a coupleof minutes, till all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the reserved beans stock. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer till the


chicken is soft and cooked. Toward the end, while the soup is still cooking, add the beans. Season with salt and freshlyground black pepper. Serve hot in soup bowls. Squeeze lemon juice and garnishwith fresh chopped cilantro and IMG_2202a couple of slices of avocado.

Krunchy-kale chipsIMG_2513

1 bunch fresh kale. Remove the stems and ribs and tear into 3-4 inch pieces. Wash the leaves and dry them thoroughly . To simplify things, I used a bag of pre-washed


kale leaves.
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I use kosher salt for my salads and any baked veggies or meat, just a preference. Can even sprinkle Himalayan pink salt, rock s


alt, regular sea salt, wow, such a variety of salts in the grocery aisles to choose from these days!

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Toss the kale with olive oil, salt and pepper. Use enough olive oil to just lightly coat the leaves. Spread the kale evenly on the tray. Bake till the leaves are crunchy and still green, about 10-12 minutes.IMG_2516


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