This healthy "kicked up" Creamy Green Chile Chicken Soup features rotisserie chicken, cannelini beans, Hatch green chile, and healthy vegetables in a cream-style green chile broth... Garnish it with tortilla strips, cilantro, cotija, lime wedges, even sliced avocado, and make it extra special. With a little focus, you can have this healthy soup on the table in 30 minutes. Pour a cold one and enjoy!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About New Mexico and Hatch Green Chile
NOTE: This post was originally published in December 2013, making it one of the very first posts on Beyond Mere Sustenance. While I made some minor updates in 2020, it really needed a complete overhaul. I did want to keep this section mostly intact because it has some good information about New Mexico and its chile! You'll find the original photo at the end of the post, and the recipe has evolved quite a bit...
New Mexico, the "Land of Enchantment," may conjure up images of endless, brilliant blue skies, craggy desert "sky islands," or the historic plazas of Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Mesilla peacefully lit by luminarias or farolitos...
New Mexicans, natives and transplants alike, probably want to talk about "chile", not "chili," and will probably digress to a discussion of which is better - red or green. I called New Mexico "home" for 22 years, and it truly is an enchanting place. Its unique culinary culture is certainly part of its charm.
For my readers unfamiliar with New Mexico and its chile culture, it's all about a pod. Chile, not chili, is a plant that produces edible pods. "Red" chile and "green" chile are produced by the same plants. The red chile pod remains on the plant until it is fully ripened. The green chile is picked earlier. New Mexico is the only state with an official state question: "Red or Green?" Now that we have that settled, we can move on to distinctions between the two 🙂
I've written previously about Chimayo red chile, the amazing chile found in the northern part of the state. Hatch, New Mexico - and surrounding farming villages - in the southern part of the state produces the fragrant, spicy pods that are roasted in giant chile roasters in late August and early September all over the state.
This 2022 version of green chile chicken soup features a creamy broth that starts with masa flour, and puréed chicken broth and green enchilada sauce. It's a little bit like a green chile chicken enchilada soup! It gets finished off with the cream of your choice. I really like this dairy-free half and half. Other than going creamy with the broth, the soup is much the same.
📋 Green Chile Chicken Soup Ingredients
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- vegetable or canola oil
- bell pepper
- masa flour - I love the hint of corn tortilla flavor that masa flour brings to the soup. You can substitute regular or gluten free wheat flour if you prefer!
- ground cumin powder
- cooked chicken - If you prefer chicken thigh meat, it's a great substitute! Choose boneless and skinless.
- chicken broth or stock
- green chile sauce - I like this Hatch green chile enchilada sauce, but you can use something like this green chile sauce or this green chile sauce. If you use salsa verde (I keep this one in my fridge!), make sure it includes green chile, and not just tomatillos. The tomatillos have a more tart flavor.
- green chile - Hatch green chile is always my preference, but I can't always get it. On photo day, I had 45 pounds of roasted Hatch green chile that we brought home from Las Cruces in September 2022. I have also used the Hatch green chile store to order fresh roasted and frozen green chile. You can use canned green chile, frozen green chile, or roasted, peeled, and chopped poblano chiles.
- cannelini beans - I like dried cannelini beans, canned cannelini beans, or Peruvian mayocoba beans in this chicken soup recipe, but you can substitute black beans, red beans, pintos, etc.
- cream - I really like this dairy-free half and half. I am not lactose intolerant, but I avoid it when I can. This one has lots of creamy richness. You can use regular half and half, whole milk, or whatever you prefer.
- cheese - I like crumbled cotija, but queso fresco, and sharp cheddar are great options. Choose your favorite!
- lime wedges
- fresh cilantro
- tortillas strips - I do air fryer tortilla strips, but you can use purchased chips, or make them using your preferred method.
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- Step 1 - Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the aromatics - onion, cumin, carrots for a minute before adding garlic, zucchini, and red bell pepper.
- Step 2 - Stir until onion begins to soften. Add the cumin. Stir for another minute. Sauté until beginning to brown.
- Step 3 - Purée the Hatch green chile enchilada sauce (or equivalent) and chicken broth.
- Step 4 - Stir in the corn. Add the masa flour, and lightly brown (1-2 minutes).
- Step 5 - Add the puréed broth/enchilada sauce, cooked chicken, and chopped green chile. Stir while bringing it up to a boil to thicken. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer the soup to meld the flavors and tenderize the vegetables (about 5 minutes). NOTE: Add additional chicken broth as needed.
- Step 6 - Stir in the cream. Heat thoroughly, but do not boil! Boiling it after the cream is added may cause curdling. Gently return to a simmer before serving.
- Prepare the toppings - While soup simmers, prepare the toppings. I prefer to bake my tortillas. I spray both sides of tortillas, then cut in strips or triangles. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, place in 375° oven and bake until golden brown. You can shallow fry them in hot oil if you're so inclined. Chop the scallions and cilantro, crumble or grate the cheese, slice the lime.
Is this green chile chicken soup good leftover?
YES! I recently had a bowl for lunch the next day, and the following evening, we re-heated it for dinner after a very busy day. Re-heat it gently in a covered pan or microwave. Use a hand whisk to reincorporate if the soup separates.
Can I freeze leftover creamy-style soups like this one?
Yes. The best way to thaw frozen creamy soups is in the refrigerator overnight. Sometimes creamy soups separate when frozen. Use a hand whisk to reincorporate if the soup separates.
I can't get Hatch green chile. What else can I use?
You can roast poblano or Anaheim chiles. Peel and see them before chopping like you would Hatch chile. You can get Hatch green chile in many markets now in the freezer section (I buy Bueno chile here in south Texas regularly). Hatch chile is also available canned.
Why use masa flour to thicken the soup?
Masa flour adds a hint of corn tortilla to the soup that is really delicious. It is also gluten free if that is a concern. Of course regular wheat flour or gluten free flour is fine.
Can I make this soup with uncooked chicken?
Yes! Sauté boneless, skinless cubed chicken with the onions and vegetables.
Be flexible with the ingredients - I regularly make homemade stock, and almost always have a quart or two in the freezer. I also keep good quality stock in my well-stocked pantry. While I prefer to start with dried beans, I keep a variety of canned beans in my pantry as well. I'm usually making this soup recipe on a weeknight, and the convenience of canned beans cannot be overstated.
This southwest-inspired soup is a great way to use rotisserie chicken, leftover cooked chicken, or even Thanksgiving turkey. It's a great time saver as well!
- hominy is a great substitution for corn
- cubed butternut squash or sweet potatoes work well in place of the carrots
- regular wheat flour doesn't provide the hint of corn tortilla to the soup that masa does, but it will still taste great!
- substitute your favorite beans for the cannelini beans
- if you have littles that won't eat green chile omit it
- green beans are a good stand in for the zucchini
Creamy Green Chile Chicken Soup
- 1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 3 carrots - small dice
- 1 bell pepper - small dice
- 1 tsp. cumin powder - or 2 if you like cumin!
- 2 tablespoons masa flour
- 12 ounces cooked chicken breast - cubed
- 1 cup chicken broth or stock
- 1 can Hatch green chile enchilada sauce - or similar (about 2 cups)
- ¾ cup corn kernels or hominy - fresh, frozen, or canned
- ¾ cup green chile - preferably Hatch, chopped
- 1 can cannelini (or other) beans - rinsed and drained
- 1 cup half and half - dairy or non-dairy; see Ingredients section in the pot
- 4 corn tortillas - cut in strips, baked, air fried, or fried
- 2 ounces cotija - grated or crumbled
- ½ cup cilantro - stems removed and chopped
- 2 scallions - chopped
- 1 lime - cut in wedges
- Sauté the aromatics in a large pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add garlic, onion, carrots, zucchini, and red bell pepper.
- Stir until onion begins to soften. Add the cumin. Stir for another minute. Sauté until beginning to brown.
- Purée the Hatch green chile enchilada sauce (or equivalent) and chicken broth.
- Stir in the corn. Add the masa flour, and lightly brown (1-2 minutes).
- Add the puréed broth/enchilada sauce, cooked chicken, and chopped green chile. Stir while bringing it up to a boil to thicken. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer the soup to meld the flavors and tenderize the vegetables (about 5 minutes). NOTE: Add additional chicken broth as needed.
- Stir in the cream. Heat thoroughly, but do not boil! Boiling it after the cream is added may cause curdling.
- While soup simmers, prepare the toppings.
- Ladle soup into soup bowls. Garnish as desired, and enjoy!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
Jim Lowell says
That looks good!
Try it, you'll like it... 😉 Thanks Dad!