When my husband and I were dating, we went to this great Tex Mex restaurant in West Hollywood called Marix Tex Mex Cafe. Big platters of sizzling fajitas, Baja fish tacos, fresh guacamole, awesome margaritas, all very California. We were dating bi-coastal for a few years, with me on the right coast and Alan on the left. Frequent weekend trips to Los Angeles were part of the deal. Dinner at Marix was one of our first Los Angeles dinners together. I’ll never forget driving to the restaurant, Alan said that Marix was a neighborhood favorite for Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt (they were still married at the time). I’m the quintessential tourist. Although I never bought one of those “maps to the stars” sold on the side of the road in LA, I have been known to get a little excited at the prospect of a celebrity sighting. So that was all I needed to hear to get me psyched about dinner. What this has to do with the black bean soup recipe… I have no idea. I guess making this Mexican soup brought back memories of our dinners at Marix. We’ve gone back a few times for those fajitas and margaritas – but alas, not a single good celebrity sighting when we’ve been there.
So here’s a healthy black bean and chicken soup recipe that has nothing to do with this story other than there’s some really good Mexican food to be had in California.
- 1 1/2lb ground chicken
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, small dice
- 1 poblano pepper, small dice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 – 15oz cans black beans, drained & rinsed
- 15oz can diced tomatoes
- 15oz can corn (or frozen kernels)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 6 drops tabasco (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
- 1tbsp fresh lime juice
- 3 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- Cayenne pepper, pinch
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
- Scant 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Add a little olive oil to a large stock pot on medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken and cook, stirring frequently. There shouldn’t be much fat released from the chicken as it cooks. If there is, drain a bit of the grease off. Once the chicken is cooked, add the green and poblano peppers and onion. Cook until softened, then add the garlic. When garlic becomes fragrant, about a minute, add 1/2 of the black beans. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher, mash the beans – this will help thicken the soup. Add the other half of the beans along with all the remaining ingredients except the cilantro. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and cook for an additional 30 min. Serve with a dollop of avocado cream and some chips on the side.
* You can omit the chicken and use vegetable stock to make this soup vegetarian.
INGREDIENTS FOR AVOCADO CREAM
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 avocado, mashed
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp adobo sauce from can of chipotle in adobo
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
Combine the yogurt and sour cream in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mash the avocado well. Add it to the yogurt mixture and whisk together until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and combine. You can use all sour cream if you prefer. Using the greek yogurt saves a fair amount of calories and it tastes delicious. I used non-fat greek yogurt, but use whatever you prefer. If you want this to be spicy, add more adobo sauce. Dollop on top of soup. This is also delicious served with salsa and chips.