This Southwestern Chicken Soup has a slightly spicy, uber-flavorful broth combined with tender chicken, onion, peppers, garlic, lots of spices (cumin, chili powder, coriander), corn and a surprise ingredient – hominy! It’s finished with an Avocado-Cheese garnish that both adds color and ensures this scrumptious soup will satisfy any appetite.
I love the flavors of Chicken Tortilla Soup and have been playing around with creating my own recipe for years. But, no matter what combination of ingredients and methods I try, there always seems to be something missing. Then I remembered that my mom used to make a sort of Mexican stew, and she put hominy in it. So, I decided to start experimenting with creating a different southwestern-inspired chicken soup that might include hominy.
What is hominy?
Briefly, hominy is made from fresh corn kernels that have been soaked in an alkaline solution, rinsed, and cooked. Through the process the outer skin of the kernels and the germ are removed. What you’re left with are chewy, meaty, puffy-looking kernels that are larger in size and white in color. I particularly like hominy because the corn flavor is pretty intense and doesn’t diminish after cooking in soup broth.
Creating Southwestern Chicken Soup
Back to creating the soup. I started with some traditional Mexican ingredients in the broth – cumin, chili powder, coriander and oregano. It needed chicken for sure, along with some onion and garlic, too. Jalapeno (or serrano) pepper for a bit of heat, red pepper for color, and, of course, the hominy. I also decided to throw in some regular corn kernels, too – to layer in even more corn flavor. Finally, avocado, cheese, cilantro, fresh tomato and lime juice for colorful, complementary garnishes!
The resulting Southwestern Chicken Soup is super delicious and hearty enough to be a filling dinner without being too rich. It has just the right balance of spiciness, a bit of chewy texture from the hominy, and lots of corn flavor. Yum!
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Southwestern Chicken Soup has a slightly spicy, uber-flavorful broth combined with tender chicken, onion, peppers, garlic, lots of spices (cumin, chili powder, coriander), corn and a surprise ingredient – hominy! It’s finished with an Avocado-Cheese garnish that both adds color and ensures this scrumptious soup will satisfy any appetite.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 (3 inch) jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
- 5 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 5 cups chicken broth, divided
- 1 (25 ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
- Grated Cheddar cheese
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Salsa or chopped fresh tomatoes
- Lime wedges
- In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper and garlic. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, coriander and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, around 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in the chopped chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups chicken broth and half of the drained hominy. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for around 20 to 25 minutes.
- Place the remaining 1 cup chicken broth and hominy in a blender and purée. Stir into soup along with corn. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit 5 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with garnishes alongside. Warmed corn tortillas make a nice accompaniment, too.
Make ahead: Soup can be made up to 2 days in advance, covered and refrigerated. Add garnish just before serving. Can also be frozen. May need additional broth after freezing.