Watch the Food Lab Video Series Black Bean Soup With Chorizo and Braised Chicken

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

A hearty bean and chicken stew flavored with chorizo and chipotle chilies. It takes a little time for the flavors to come together, but the process is easy and the results are worth the wait.

Note:: Canned beans can be used in place of dried. To use canned beans, drain and rinse 2 (28 ounce) cans of black beans. Skip step 1. In step 3, reduce broth to 1 quart instead of 1 1/2. Add beans to soup in step 4 as directed, reducing cook time to 30 minutes. Proceed as directed.

Black Bean Soup With Chorizo and Braised Chicken

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4 to 6
Active time:45 minutes
Total time:2 hours, plus overnight to soak the beans
This recipe appears in: The Food Lab: Black Bean Soup With Chorizo and Braised Chicken


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces smoked Mexican or Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 8 scallions, finely sliced, greens and whites reserved separately
  • 2 Serrano peppers, 1 finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons), the other thinly sliced for garnish
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely minced, plus 1 tablespoon sauce from can
  • 1 1/2 quarts low sodium store-bough or homemade chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sliced avocado, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
  • Sour cream or Mexican-style crema, for serving
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges


  1. 1

    Place black beans in a large bowl and cover with 1 gallon of water. Add 3 tablespoons salt and stir until dissolved. Cover and set aside at room temperature overnight. (See note above).

  2. 2

    The next day, season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken and cook without moving until well browned on first side, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until second side is browned, about 3 minutes longer. Remove chicken from pot with tongs and set aside on a large plate.

  3. 3

    Add chorizo to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until chorizo is crisp and starting to char, about 4 minutes. Add scallion whites, chopped Serrano, and garlic. Cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chopped chipotles and their sauce and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth and bay leaves. (If using canned beans, see note above).

  4. 4

    Drain and rinse beans and add to pot. Nestle chicken pieces into beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans and chicken are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  5. 5

    Remove and discard bay leaves and skins from chicken. Using a ladle, carefully transfer 2 cup of beans and chorizo with liquid to a blender. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Stir mixture back into pot. (If a thicker soup is desired, repeat this process until it as thick as desired)

  6. 6

    Serve chicken and beans with cilantro, scallion greens, lime wedges, sliced Serrano peppers, and sour cream at the table for garnish.

Watch the Food Lab Video Series

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