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Salsa takes center stage in soup for spring

The Baltimore Sun

Every spring it happens. You think you're ready to venture into salad entrees, but Mother Nature decides otherwise. Because salsa and avocado evoke warm, sunshiny days, their presence in this soup makes up for any lack of swimsuit weather.

The soup is so easy that even the most reluctant cook should give it a try. Its main ingredient, and the key to its success, is a jar of salsa. And there's the catch: So much depends on the quality of the salsa, you really need to buy the good stuff. If you've got a salsa that's too hot, lower the kick by adding additional broth.

A Mexican beer or a crisp Spanish albarino can handle this spicy soup. Limeade would be a nice choice, too.

Renee Enna writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis. Spring Fever Salsa Soup

Serves 4 -- Total time: 15 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 jar (16 ounces) salsa

1 container (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained

1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

1/2 cup each: chopped cilantro, shredded Mexican-blend cheese

1 small avocado, cubed

tortilla chips, crumbled (optional)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the salsa. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the broth; heat to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low. Add the chicken, beans and corn. Cook until chicken cooks through, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off heat; stir in the cilantro.

Divide the soup into 4 bowls; stir in the cheese and avocado. Top with tortilla chips, if desired.

Per serving: 467 calories, 21 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 44 grams carbohydrate, 39 grams protein, 1,437 milligrams sodium, 13 grams fiber

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