Thursday, November 27, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Mexican Chicken Soup

Soup is one of my favorite meals. For years I dreamed of opening a restaurant that specialized in just soups. Who knows? Maybe that will still happen. There's nothing better than homemade soup and fresh bread.

This month, it suddenly became my turn to select a recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers. I say suddenly, because I had calculated that January would be my month (only uber-analyticals would probably think that way), so I guess some of the early participants had dropped out. This also meant I had to think fast (also a problem for analyticals). I decided to look through my 'to try' list for Ina's recipes, and saw the one for Mexican Chicken Soup. At least for the Northern Hemisphere, this is a soup-time-of-year, and Thanksgiving notwithstanding, that became my choice. In fact, I had planned to make this soup for my personal Thanksgiving, but a last minute invitation put an end to that, so I made it for Thanksgiving Eve.

I did halve the recipe, used boneless chicken breasts and diced tomatoes, and substituted parsley for cilantro. I thought the soup was delicious, and will certainly become part of my soup rotation throughout the year. The seasonings were right on the mark, too. I usually increase the amount of cumin because I love that flavor, and I made sure the saltiness was where it should be. Tasting is essential here, and proper seasoning makes all the difference.

While I forgot the avocado (duh), I did make my own tortilla chips, so along with the garnishes of sour cream and grated cheddar cheese, it was a perfect meal.

I would also add that this soup easily converts to a vegetarian version. Instead of chicken and chicken broth, substitute vegetable broth and pinto beans (my favorite), or some combination of beans and corn, which make a complete protein. You won't even miss the chicken.

I've included the recipe this time because it was my choice, but you can also find it on the Food Network website. Other Barefoot Bloggers have shared their opinions about the soup, too, so please check out their sites as well.

Mexican Chicken Soup
Courtesy of Ina Garten
  • 4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
  • 2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
  • 6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
  • For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.


Megan said...

I've heard nothing but great reviews about this soup - I really must try and make it. Right now I'm making noodle pudding for tomorrows Thanksgiving (David comes home tonight so we are celebrating tomorrow).

BTW - a soup and bread restaurant sounds like a great idea. I'll be first in line!

Suzie said...

Thanks for the great choice - we really loved this soup, and I know we will make it again.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Great pick on the soup. I really enjoyed it. I'll be right behind Megan in line at your soup restaurant too!

Karen said...

Good choice for these cold days! Thanks!

Kirsten said...

Thanks for such a great pick. We really enjoyed this soup! And,I love your restaurant idea!

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...

Thank you for a great pick, Judy! I loved this soup and it will be made again for sure! It was so easy to switch to a meatless version and lost nothing in flavor. Your soup restaurant sounds wonderful :)

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I really enjoyed this soups. Yours looks good.

Anonymous said...

You made your own tortilla chips? How Ina is that? ;)

Thanks for choosing this soup! It was an easy thing to make during a ca-ray-zee week. Very appreciated.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Homemade fresh tortilla chips and this soup! Fill up my bowl please!

Megan said...

Cood pick! Perfect for the cold season. :)

NKP said...

I loved the soup! Great pick.
Congrats for making your own tortillas, I was thinking about it and got lazy on the day of.
We will definitely make this again too.

Jennifer said...

Great pick! My husband and I really enjoyed this soup. It was easy to make which was helpful this Thanksgiving season.

Anonymous said...

This recipe is perfect for turkey leftovers, I bet!

Aggie said...

Your soup looks great! Thanks for picking a fantastic recipe for us to try!!

Anonymous said...

i really loved this soup, thanks for a great bb selection! thanks very much also for the birthday wishes and the tortilla chip recipe suggestion. i appreciate it, i'm going to test out some homemade tortilla chips soon!

Heather B said...

Great job! Yours looks delish!

Anonymous said...

I understand the "suddenly" part very well. I guess I'm also uber-analytical because I calculated I wouldn't come up in the rotation until at least November 2009, and then ::wham:: I just checked recently and I was up much higher on the list. Of course I had to recalcuate and now it appears to be sometime in the summer of 2009, but with the shifting list, one can't be certain. Does this make me anal? Hmm. So be it! Your soup looks great!