Chill Chaser: Chicken and Black Bean Stew

An autumn colored stew for an autumn colored day. Mmm. Is there anything chicken stew can't do?

Sunset filtering through the trees in our back yard...the last of autumn's color.

It’s the end of another cool, clear and gorgeous fall day—a perfect time for some homemade soup or stew! This one’s a perennial fave at our house, a flavorful and delicious dish that freezes really well, too.

There are so many things to love about this stew that I can’t stop singing it’s praises.

It’s easy.
It makes it’s own broth so it’s kind of thrifty.
It uses lots of veggies and it’s good for you.
It’s practically a meal in a bowl and it smells so terrific cooking you just know it’s going to taste even better!
I believe it may even prevent colds and has more curative mojo in it than your average chicken soup. Even if I’m wrong about that, it sure makes your tummy feel good.

I first tasted this “stew” at my godmother’s house many years ago and I begged her for the recipe, which of course she generously shared with me. I lost the original copy once I wrote this in my own notebook, but I believe it was from a restaurant in the southwestern United States that had closed, and all I can say is thank goodness the recipe survived! Though technically some might call this a hearty and thick soup rather than a stew, I am calling it by it’s original name…Chicken and Black Bean Stew.

Last, but not least, the chicken and the oregano are added to the stew.

I make this throughout the fall and winter months, and have adjusted it a bit over the years in the form of amping up the amount of veggies, using some of the juice from the tomatoes for more flavor and adding extra garlic and seasoning. I prefer to use low sodium canned tomatoes and no-salt canned beans, then add my own salt to the pot…much healthier for you if these are available in your area. And, like so many soups and stews, this one gets even better tasting the day after it’s made. We like to serve this with some extra sharp cheddar cheese grated on top and some homemade cornbread or tortilla chips alongside. A little red pepper flake, as was suggested in the original recipe, is mighty fine sprinkled on top, too!

Chicken and Black Bean Stew

2 large bone-in and skin-on chicken breast halves
6 cups of water
3-4 large carrots, peeled and diced
1-28 oz can peeled whole plum tomatoes, (allow the juice from each tomato to dribble freely into the pot as you cut them up, and save the rest of the liquid/puree in the can for chili or pasta sauce later on!)
1 sweet onion and 1 red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into thin slices
6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
3 oz. of good quality smoked bacon, diced
2-16 oz. cans of black beans, preferably no-salt, drained and rinsed well
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon of kosher salt, plus additional if needed
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Red pepper flakes and grated extra sharp cheddar for garnish

Put the chicken breasts into a large soup pot and cover with the 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover, cooking until just done, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from the broth and allow to cool, reserving the broth in the pot. Skim any extra fat off the top of the broth left from the chicken, then to that pot add the carrots, the tomatoes (cutting them into smaller pieces while adding to the pot), onions, garlic, bacon and the drained beans. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer, cooking the vegetables for 20 minutes and stirring occasionally.

While the soup is cooking, take the skin off the chicken meat and tear the meat off the bone and into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones. When the soup is ready, add the chicken, oregano, several good grinds of freshly ground black pepper and the salt. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Stir and heat just until the chicken has warmed through, about 5 minutes or so. Serve with red pepper flakes and cheese. Serves 6-8.


9 thoughts on “Chill Chaser: Chicken and Black Bean Stew

    • It really is comfort in a bowl, John, you should try it! I don’t freeze things much, but this freezes so beautifully that it tastes like you just made it when you thaw it. I like to make some around the holidays and freeze it to have a quick bite on hand in the midst of baking!


  1. Pingback: Soups, Stews, Chilis and Chowders Part Two: The Chunky | bits and breadcrumbs

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