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.

Southwest Chicken Soup Recipe

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.

Ingredients for Southwestern 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 bell pepper for color, and, of course, the hominy. I also decided to throw in some 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!

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.

What cut of chicken is best for chicken soup?

For this recipe, I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They absorb all the delectable Southwestern spices while cooking!

Southwestern Soup Recipe Toppings

I like to top this soup with these traditional Tex-Mex ingredients:

  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salsa, pico de gallo or chopped fresh tomatoes

Add a wedge of lime on the side, too.

white bowl filled with Southwestern Chicken Soup with Avocado-Cheese Garnish

How to Make Southwest Chicken Soup

Here are the easy steps involved in making this amazing soup:

  1. Cook vegetables with spices.
    In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño 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.
  2. Add chicken.
    Stir in the chopped chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicken broth and hominy.
    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.
  4. Prepare a hominy and broth purée; add along with corn.
    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.
  5. Let soup rest, then serve.
    Remove from heat, cover and let sit 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with garnishes alongside.

What to Serve with Southwestern Chicken Soup

This scrumptious soup truly is a complete meal in a bowl. Just serve some warmed tortillas or Parmesan Buttermilk Cornbread on the side and you have a healthy, hearty dinner.

How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Southwest Soup

Place any leftover, ungarnished soup in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Once chilled, it can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Make sure to leave around 1 inch at the top of the container (between the lid and the soup) if freezing.

To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Place in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

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white bowl filled with Southwestern Chicken Soup with Avocado-Cheese Garnish

Southwestern Chicken Soup

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.

  • Yield: 4 to 5 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

(See gluten-free adaptations in the Notes section at the bottom of the recipe.)

  • 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
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Garnish

  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salsa or chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. Season to taste with kosher salt (shouldn’t need much).
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve with garnishes alongside. Warmed corn tortillas make a nice accompaniment, too.

Notes

Gluten free: use gluten-free broth.

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.

  • Author: Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: soups, gluten free, dairy free
white bowl filled with Southwestern Chicken Soup with Avocado-Cheese Garnish

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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  1. Added a can of diced tomatoes partially pureed, and liked it better. Perfect spices, tho no mention of S&P. I added 1 1/2 tsp salt to the entire pot. Love your soups!!!

    1. I love the idea of adding tomatoes. Definitely going to try that the next time I make this soup. And I’ll update the recipe to include the option of adding salt. Thanks Marilyn!