Saturday, March 5, 2011

March 5, 2011: Chicken, Broccoli, and Black Bean Soup Recipe

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Several years ago I visited a friend in San Diego with a group of women for a little weekend getaway. We were there to watch our friend, Connie, perform in a play, go shopping, eat great food, and have fun. It was a beautiful late February weekend and we spent Saturday in and around La Jolla.

At lunchtime, Connie suggested we sit on the ocean view terrace at George’s at the Cove restaurant and enjoy the sun and breeze. And so we did, drinking glasses of wine and dining on one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, Smoked Chicken, Broccoli and Black Bean Soup. We were dutifully impressed by this rich, flavorful soup and our waiter presented us each with a printed copy of the recipe (I visited their website and found that the restaurant is still in business and still providing this soup recipe to patrons).

I’ve held on to that recipe for years, never making it because I was daunted by the long list of ingredients.

I finally decided to roll up my sleeves and give this recipe a try recently and found it was not really as hard as I thought it would be to reproduce the wonderful flavors in this soup. It’s the perfect entrée for a blustery March night, served with hot, buttered biscuits or cheese wafers – and a great way to use an entire (small) head of broccoli. Here is the recipe at was written; my tips for substitutions are included afterward.

George’s at the Cove Smoked Chicken, Broccoli and Black Bean Soup

½ c. unsalted butter
½ c. diced carrots
½ c. diced onions
½ c. diced celery
1 c. broccoli stems, peeled and diced
2 t. dried thyme
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried sweet basil
¼ c. dry white wine
4 c. chicken stock, hot
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
½ t. Tabasco sauce
1 c. diced smoked chicken
1 c. cooked black beans
1 c. broccoli florets
2 c. heavy cream
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 T. cornstarch mixed with a small amount of warm water (optional)

In ¼ cup of the butter, sauté carrots, onion, celery, and broccoli stems for 5 minutes. Add the thyme, oregano and basil; sauté 5 minutes more. Add wine and deglaze pan. Add hot chicken stock and reduce by one-third (Note: this takes a good hour or so). Add Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, smoked chicken, beans and broccoli florets; simmer 5 minutes. Add cream, simmer 5 minutes more and season to taste. Thicken with cornstarch if desired. Drop in remaining butter, one tablespoon at a time, stirring until melted. Serve immediately.

Smoked Chicken:
On a covered charcoal grill or smoker, slightly smoke boneless chicken pieces, cooking to medium rare (about 30 minutes). Do not allow the grill to become too hot. Use wood chips to add flavor.

Tips and Changes: For one thing, my barbecue grill is still covered to protect it from snow so I wasn’t able to smoke my chicken. What I did was use an indoor, plug-in grill and plop two boneless, skinless thighs on it. They turned out really nice, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside – but didn’t have the signature smoky flavor this soup is supposed to have.

For the pan, I would suggest a heavy dutch oven. I used a regular stainless saucepan but it wasn’t good for deglazing.

Although the recipe calls for unsalted butter, there’s no reason you can’t use regular butter; just taste before seasoning so the soup isn’t too salty.

I’m not a big fan of thyme, so I used one teaspoon of thyme and doubled the amount of basil.

I omitted the white wine, because I didn’t have an open bottle. I just used the chicken stock.

I added the broccoli florets midway through the reduction process (keeping the broth at a low boil) so they would be softer, as my husband prefers. Black beans, drained and rinsed from a can, work perfectly fine if you don’t want to cook the dried beans ahead of time.

I did use cornstarch to thicken the soup. Even though it reduced, the broth was awfully thin. If you have the time, I would suggest reducing it further than a third – to at least by half.


  1. UMMM! Sounds yummy! I love all the ingredients.
    Thank you for sharing. I have food allergies and so usually avoid soup at a restaurant because the base usually has MSG in when I can get a recipe for a great soup that I can make from scratch (AND EAT), I'm delighted!

  2. Hi Peg!
    So many times the food served in restaurants and in the "ready-made" aisle in the grocery store contains MSG (along with a whole bunch of other crap). It's always better to make it yourself - and I sure hope you try out this recipe because it's a good one! Even my husband, who does not like black beans and is not a broccoli fan, either, loved it.