Black Bean and Smoked Chicken Soup

This came from my large milk crate full of old clipped and handwritten recipes.  While I don’t think that this recipe is terribly old, it sounds terribly delicious.  Best of all, it is low fat.  Can’t get much better than that!

Black Bean and Smoked Chicken Soup

1/2 cup dried black beans

2 cups water

1 bay leaf

Light vegetable oil cooking spray

1/2 cup peeled and chopped broccoli stems

1/2 cup peeled and cubed carrot (1 medium carrot)

1 cup peeled and chopped celery (2 medium stalks)

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried basil

1/2 cup dry white wine

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast

4 tablespoons barbecue (no oil variety)

1 cup fat free chicken stock

12 ounces evaporated skim milk (you can usually find fat free anymore)

2 cups broccoli florets

1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon liquid smoke (seems like A LOT – start with a teaspoon at a time)

1 tablespoon Worstewhatevershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Put the dry beans in a bowl and cover with cold water, soaking overnight or at least 8 hours.

Drain and transfer to medium saucepan.  Add 2 cups water and bay leaf.  Boil over medium heat for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until beans are tender.  Drain and discard bay leaf.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place stockpot over medium heat for 1 minute and spray twice with vegetable oil.  Add broccoli stems, carrot, celery and onion.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes, stirring twice.  Add thyme, basil and wine and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, cube the chicken and coat with barbecue sauce and bake 10 minutes on the top shelf of oven.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Add the chicken cubes, chicken stock and beans to the pot, cooking on low for 3 minutes.  Stir in the milk and the broccoli florets.  Cook for 5 minutes, but do not let it boil.  Add dissolved cornstarch and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in liquid smoke, Worstewhatevershire sauce and Tasbasco sauce.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.

To thicken this without cornstarch, reserve about 1/3 of the beans.  Add them to a blender with a bit of stock and blend carefully, being sure to hold the top of your blender on with a towel.  Add the puree to your soup to help thicken it naturally.

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