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Spicy Southwest Chicken Soup

Soup season is officially here. While Christmas is filled with cookies and rich comfort food, January comes with cold wind and a sign of a long winter. January can feel like the longest month of the year, the holiday still behind us but now over, shorter days and snow that stretches on for miles.

I often feel like the perfect dinner is a bowl of my favorite soup, a salad and a chunk of bread to sop it all up with just before I find a huge couch to sink into and a good book to lose myself in. This spicy southwest chicken soup is full of hominy, corn, chilies and black beans to keep you bright and lively in the midst of winter.

Spicy Southwest Chicken Soup
1 whole roaster chicken
2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red green pepper, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 scallions, diced
29-30 ounces white hominy
12 ounces frozen sweet corn
15 ounces black beans, cooked
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, roughly chopped (less to control spice level)

Rinse and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Mix together all spices and rub under the skin, removing skin if necessary. Bake at 350 degrees F for 2 hours or until chicken reaches 165 degrees F in the thigh. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove meat and set aside.

Place the chicken carcass in a large 6-quart stockpot and cover with 4 1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours. Drain stock and set aside.

Add olive oil to pot over medium-high heat. Add in red and green bell peppers and yellow onion. Saute until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add broth back in along with hominy, sweet corn, black beans, chipotles and adobo sauce and reserved chicken. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with grilled corn tortillas, corn chips or homemade flour tortillas.

Makes 10-12 meal servings.

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