Friday, January 7, 2011

Mexican Chicken Soup

It is always a good thing to have at least a handful of dependable soup recipes in your portfolio to fall back on (and preferably a few from different cuisines of the world). If you can't cook anything else at all for yourself or your family that day, a hearty home-cooked soup will always save the day and satisfy your stomach.

My dad who is a real soup lover drinks soup almost every day, even for breakfast (that's why my mom has always been coming up with all kinds of soup recipes all these years). This may sound a bit strange to you, but I actually think (most probably because growing up I had my dad's example) having soup for breakfast is a great way to start your day, especially before you go out on those cold winter days; soup is a meal in itself, a package of nutrients.

This soup recipe is originally from Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten with some adjustments of mine.

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (1/2 cup); or 1/2 cup chopped cubanelle pepper or another type of sweet green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15-oz can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed; or 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 6- or 8-inch fresh corn or flour tortilla; first cut in half, then cut into 1/4" strips
  • Salt
  • 1 cup (leftover) cooked chicken or turkey, cubed or shredded
  • 2-4 tablespoons cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • Grated Cheddar cheese and/or Monterey Jack cheese; sliced avocado; crushed tortilla chips; sour cream; yogurt, for serving (optional)

  • In a pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery or pepper and saute about 5-10 minutes until the veggies get slightly soft.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until it gets fragrant.
  • Add the chicken stock, tomatoes (with their puree), jalapenos (if you do not want the heat from the jalapenos, just add an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cubanelle peppers at the beginning), cumin, coriander, black pepper.
  • Bring to a boil. Lower the heat; add the tortilla strips (these will slightly thicken the soup and function like noodles) and simmer for about 25 minutes, until all the veggies are cooked (=no more crunchy to the bite).
  • Taste the soup and add salt, if necessary (I personally would not add more salt, since the salt from the chicken stock is usually enough for me). Add the chicken and cilantro or parsley. Remove from heat and serve with above suggested toppings.

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