Chicken and Bean Soup

Any firm white cheese will do, such as Cheddar or California jack. Serve with hot tortillas for an authentic touch.


6 - 8 servings
1 x 2 1/2 kg (5 lb) Boiling chicken
1 Medium onion, quartered
1 Carrot, sliced
2 tsp Salt
4 Peppercorns
1 Bouquet garni
3 litres (5 pints) 6 pints Water
2 Green peppers, pith and seeds removed and sliced
1 Large onion, thinly sliced into rings
425 g (14 oz) Canned chick-peas, drained
1/4 tsp Black pepper
225 g (8 oz) Firm white cheese, cubed
1 Avocado, peeled, stoned, sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice


1. Put the chicken into a large saucepan and add the quartered onion, carrot, 1 teaspoon of salt, the peppercorns and bouquet garni.

2. Pour over the water, adding more if necessary to cover the chicken completely. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer the chicken for 2 hours, or until it is cooked through and tender.

3. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a chopping board. Cover with foil to keep hot.

4. Increase the heat to moderately high and bring the pan liquid to the boil.

5. Boil for 15 minutes, or until it has reduced slightly. Strain, discarding the contents of the strainer.

6. Rinse out the saucepan and return the strained liquid to it. Return to the boil, skimming off any scum which rises to the surface.

7. Add the sliced peppers and onion rings, reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer for 10 minutes.

8. Stir in the chick-peas and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, cut the chicken into serving pieces and return to the saucepan. Add the remaining salt and the pepper and simmer for a further 5 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are heated through. Stir in the cheese cubes.

10. As soon as the cheese melts, transfer the soup to a warmed tureen and add the avocado slices. Serve at once.

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