1lborganic chicken breast or thighs, chopped into 1" cubes
Vegetarian option: Replace chicken with 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa or wild rice, or 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans
Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat, and saute the onions, celery and carrots for about 10 minutes, until tender.
Add the garlic and chopped chicken (if using), and saute for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is nearly cooked through.
Add the water, diced tomatoes with juice, jalapenos, cumin, sea salt, black pepper and chopped cilantro, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the temperature and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to gently puree the soup to your desired texture. You can make it as chunky or blended as you like! I was actually surprised how well the immersion blender shredded the chicken, too.
*If using a vegetarian option, such as quinoa or black beans, I prefer to add them in after using the immersion blender, for texture. You'll just need an extra minute or so of cooking time after adding them in, to make sure everything is heated through.