This spicy chicken salsa soup with crispy chicken skin starts slow with homemade chicken stock but the rest of the recipe comes together in a jiffy.
You can skip adding the crispy chicken skin to this soup and simply discard the skin after it has boiled, but we felt like the skin added a nice amount of decadence to this relatively lean soup.
Spicy Chicken Salsa Soup with Crispy Chicken Skin
- Large pot
- 8 chicken thighs
- ¾ bunch cilantro
- 6 scallions
- 1 head of garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
Spicy Chicken Salsa Soup:
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 15- ounce cans black beans
- 2 16- ounce jars of tomato salsa mild, medium, or hot, depending on your preference
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne more or less to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 scallions for garnish
- ¼ bunch fresh cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Prepare Broth Ingredients:
- Cut the head of garlic in half cross-wise, leaving the paper on the cloves.
- In a stock pot, combine the chicken thighs, scallions, cilantro, halved garlic head, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Skim any scuzz or foam from the top of the broth occasionally.
- Carefully remove the chicken and the garlic halves from the broth and transfer to a bowl. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard the solids. Set the broth aside for later. Wipe out the pot.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and set aside in a bowl. Pick the chicken meat from the thighs and discard the bones. Using two forks, shred the chicken meat. Using a paper towel, carefully pop the cloves of garlic from the skin and roughly chop the cloves. Reserve the chopped garlic for the soup.
Prepare the Soup Ingredients:
- As the stock is cooking, prepare the soup ingredients. Peel and dice the onion. Trim and deseed the peppers and dice. Drain and rinse the black beans. Trim the scallions and mince and reserve for garnish.
Fry the Aromatics:
- Heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in the pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and red bell pepper and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes or until beginning to brown and soften. Add the reserved chopped garlic and cook for 45 seconds or until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. Add the black beans and toss to combine.
Prepare the Soup:
- Pour in the reserved homemade chicken broth and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Next, pour in the salsa and stir to combine. Season the soup with salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne powder. Finally, add the reserved shredded chicken meat.
- Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and season to your preferences.
Prepare the Crispy Chicken Skin:
- Right before serving, fry the chicken skin. Add the ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil to a small frying pan and turn the heat to medium high. Once the oil is very hot, add the chicken skins, cooking in batches if necessary. Be sure to keep the skin flat and don’t let it fold over itself and be careful not to overcrowd the skillet.
- Fry the skin for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook an additional 1-3 minutes or until completely golden brown and crispy. Transfer the chicken skin to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Break the chicken skin into bite-sized pieces and arrange on top. Garnish with fresh cilantro stems and the minced scallions.