Here's a true "comfort food" soup, so good for this cooler time of year. I just got throwing together some odds and ends and this is what came out! Not a new concept, but the ingredient combination in my version is my own. It's my hubby's favorite soup!
Chicken may be cooked ahead of time, cooled, and coarsely chopped. It's a rustic soup so it doesn't have to be neat little pieces.
Add chopped veggies, tomatoes, seasonings (except for salt and pepper), chicken, and reserved broth to 4-qt. kettle. Since this is a thick soup, which could stick easily, you'll want to choose a pot with a good, heavy bottom. Good nonstick cookware or maybe a pressure cooker (not pressurized) would be a good choice. Cook ingredients on med-high heat until onions and peppers are tender. Personally, I like to hold off a few minutes and add my celery about 10-15 minutes into the cooking process. A slight crunch of the celery is a nice touch to the overall texture of the soup. Once I wound up with a wonderful, fragrant liquid left over from stuffed bell peppers...I actually wound up cooking the chicken in this broth and using some in the soup. It was over-the-top! You can't get too much bell pepper flavor in this soup.
When onions are tender, add mushroom soup and reduce to medium. Simmer about 10 more minutes. Add in cheese, stirring often to avoid sticking, and reduce to medium-low. Adjust the thickness to your own preference by adding more chicken broth if desired. Wait until you've added these ingredients to salt and pepper...the cheese and other ingredients may make it salty enough to where no additional salt is needed. I didn't need extra. Add beans just a few minutes before serving and heat through.
Really good served with oyster crackers, hot tortillas or maybe some tortilla chips. If you fix it thick enough, it would be delicious ladled over a taco salad in place of ground beef. Feel free to make it hotter, milder, thicker, thinner...it's YOUR turn to make this into an extraordinary dish! One thing I'm going to try to do at some point is thicken it up just a tad and bake it in a pie shell, to make a variation of chicken pot pie...call me crazy, I just get little ideas like this. If I do and it's good, I'll post and let you know. It just sounds like it would have to be good. :)