Serves 4-5 people
1 large chicken breast or 2 small chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, whole
1 medium-sized onion
1 celery stalk
1 medium-sized onion (Yes, a second onion)
1/2 – 1 jalapeño, sliced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 green bell pepper
1/2 colored bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange…you can also use mini sweet peppers)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 can tomato sauce
2-3 bay leaves
1 – 1 1/2 cups vermicelli pasta
1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of Saffron (optional)
Preparing the Chicken and Vermicelli:
Step 1: Place chicken, an onion cut in half, and garlic into a large stock pot. Pour water over these ingredients – I would say about 5-6 cups or enough to submerge the chicken – and bring to a boil. Continue to boil the chicken for about 35-45 minutes.
Step 2: Remove chicken from water and set aside to cool. Remove onion and garlic from your homemade chicken broth. If you’d like to, you can strain the broth to get rid of any smaller left over pieces.
Step 3: Once the chicken has cooled enough, use your hands to tear it apart into bite size chunks. Set aside.
Step 4: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add vermicelli (no oil is needed) and continuously stir until most noodles have a golden color. Transfer noodles into another bowl or plate and set aside for later use.
Preparing the Soup:
Step 1: Chop up the onion, cilantro, celery, and bell peppers into small pieces.
Step 2: In a large stock pot, sauté the onions in olive oil until golden. Add cilantro and continue to stir over medium-high heat for about two minutes.
Step 3: Gradually add jalapeños, celery, and bell peppers respectively. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes. Then add shredded chicken.
Step 4: Add salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, chili powder and saffron to taste. It’s better to under-spice than to over spice and you may continue to add spice to this soup later. I love to sprinkle and taste, and then repeat until I’ve got the flavor I personally like.
Step 5: Add the sliced up tomato chunks, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and bay leaves. Stir ingredients together and bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, reduce heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Step 6: Add vermicelli, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Continue to allow soup to simmer until the vermicelli noodles are cooked through.
Step 7: Garnish your bowl of soup with lime, cilantro, avocado, and green onions.