Soups

The addictively delicious Mexican Chicken Soup


So let me just start this post by stating simply…

this soup is pretty damn delicious!

I stumbled upon it 6 years ago when I was in Puerto Vallarta with my husband. We had just found out that I was pregnant (baby #1) and wanted to enjoy one last mini-vacation before we were engulfed in full-blown pregnancy and the sleepless nights of baby feedings.

Only problem is, at 6 weeks pregnant, you kinda are full-blown pregnant.
Its called morning sickness.

I was lucky not to have it too bad, just the occasional nauseous bathroom run.  But for the most part I mainly just had really bad food cravings.  Spicy Top Ramen was my favorite.  So when we went to mexico, and I was searching on the room service menu for choices I could stomach, a light mexican chicken soup sounded perfect.

And it was… perfect.

Its not creamy or thick like the many tortilla chicken soups you find at restaurants. It tastes refreshing and lite, but its also filling and the ancho chili gives it a really great depth of flavor with only a tiny amount of heat.  I usually triple it to feed a crowd and set it up like a soup bar, with the brothy chicken soup ladled into each bowl, and then the different garnishes set up so that everyone can pick and choose what they like best.

Fresh avocado, jack cheese, brown rice, chopped cilantro, diced red onion, lime wedges, jalapeno peppers for those who like it spicy hot, and tortilla chips.

Or, if you’re like my busy sister-in-law Kristy, who’s in love with this too, you’ll make an x-large batch and eat it all week long!

So here is how you make it… its really easy.


Cut your carrots in half lengthwise.


Then again into quarters. Chop across to get a small dice.  You could also cut it into thin rounds.

broth

Bring 2 quarts of good homemade or store bought chicken broth to a simmer in a deep pot.  Add the 2 cloves of garlic, crushed to a paste, diced carrots and the whole can of diced tomatoes. While that’s simmering away on medium/low heat with the lid on…



In a small bowl, ladle a little of the hot chicken broth over the three whole dried ancho chilies until just covered and cover the bowl with some foil, or i just set a plate on top. Let them soak for 10 minutes. Then remove the stems, cut open and gently rinse the seeds out with a little water.


Place the chillies in your food processor or blender with a half a cup of the soaking liquid, and blend on high until its a smooth thin paste. Add 3 tablespoons of the chili puree to the soup, more if you’re like me and like the chili flavor strong.


Now chop up your garnishes. First slice the avocado in half and whack the pit of the avocado with your knife. Twist and the pit will pop out with the knife.


Make criss-crossing slices into the avocado halves with your knife, cutting down to the avocado skin, but not through. Use your spoon to scoop out the flesh, and voila  its cut in cubes.


For the red onion, cut in half from one end to the other, chop off the non-root end, and leave the root end intact.

Make vertical slices down the onion, stopping just short of the root end, so that the onion stays intact.
Now make horizontal slices across the onion, also stopping short of the root end. This step isn’t totally necessary because the natural grain of the onion already seperates the onion horizontally here, but its a good technique to learn when wanting to chop or mince other round/oval vegetables or fruits: tomatoes, shallots, garlic, round fruits etc..


Slice down against the grain to dice your onion.

So now for the easiest part… you can just buy a cooked rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store instead of cooking the chicken yourself.  If you do, just use both the dark and white meat from all parts of the chicken. You don’t have to put all of it into the soup.  You could reserve some in a bowl for those guests that like a little more protein in their soup.



If you’re using uncooked chicken breasts, butterfly each breast open so that you have two thin breasts instead of one. I always do this when cooking chicken breast so that they cook quickly and more evenly.


Sprinkle with some dried oregano (optional), salt and pepper and saute on medium/high heat for 3 or so minutes per side. Slice into thin strips. Add some of chicken breast directly to the soup right before serving.

Season the soup with a little more salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of lime.

Serve the soup in individual bowls, with the garnishes placed on the table family style.

Happy eating!

~Christina

Mexican Chicken Soup
For the soup base serves 4
4 small chicken breasts OR 1 cooked rotisserie chicken, (use both the white and dark meat)
2 quarts chicken broth
2 carrots, chopped into thin rounds or quarters
1-2 small cloves garlic, pounded to a paste, or minced finely
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 lime
3 dried ancho chilies
salt and pepper

Garnishes
2 cups cooked brown or white rice
2 fresh avocadoes
1 cup shredded jack cheese
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper (for those that like it spicy)
1 small red onion
1 lime
tortilla chips for crumbling on top


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Soups

Chilled summer peach and heirloom tomato soup

This is an utterly delicious recipe I came up with last night using the sweetest yellow peaches and the ripest yellow tomatoes.  The sauteed onions tip the scale to make this a savory soup, but the addition of the mascarpone cheese makes this just so creamy and wonderful.

oh please try it, pleeeeeeeeeze 🙂

Its definitely a must for a hot august night.  I’m trying to convince my husband that soups can be great cold,  I think this one will do the trick!

…………………………….

So first up, saute 1 small chopped up onion in 1 tablespoon butter, adding 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of ground white pepper. Cook on low heat, taking care not to brown the onions, for 10 minutes.

Next boil a pot of water (here I used a pot that was already boiling with potatoes from another dish).  Using a small pairing knife, cut a shallow X on the smooth end of the peach. Drop the peaches in the boiling water, making sure the water covers them completely.  Let them boil away with the lid on for 3 minutes.  This helps loosen the skin on the peaches so you can easily peel it off.

Using your pairing knife, peel the peaches, cut them in half and remove the pit, then roughly chop them up.  You’re going to be pureeing all the ingredients later, so everything can just be chopped up real quick and rough.

Quickly chop up one and a half medium sized heirloom tomatoes, or you could just use one of those super duper large heirloom tomatoes.

Add the chopped peaches and tomatoes to the pan with the sauteed onions.  Turn the heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes, until the peaches and tomatoes have broken down and released all their juices.

Add 1/3 cup mascapone

Stir and transfer to a blender.

Start off on low for about a minute, then bump it up to medium/high for 2 more minutes or until its as smooth as you like. Add several ice cubes or spoonfuls of cold water to thin out the soup and season with salt and pepper.  Keep in mind that you might need to add extra salt and pepper after the soup has chilled, since seasonings taste stronger when food is hot and more muted when cold.

At this point you can transfer it to your fridge to chill.

But I needed it to chill quickly, so I poured the soup into a metal bowl and set it over a bowl of ice water.  Then I added several ice cubes to the soup to thin it out and cool it down.   After stirring for a few minutes, my soup was nice and cold.   I ladled it into small soup bowls and garnished it with chopped tarragon. Finely chopped fresh peaches would also be nice, as well as fresh basil.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 small chopped onion

2 ripe yellow peaches

1.5 yellow heirloom tomatoes, or 2 cups chopped tomatoes (can substitute with ripe red tomatoes)

1/3 cup mascarpone cheese (can substitute with heavy cream)

2 Tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon for garnish (basil would also work nicely)

salt and pepper to taste

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