Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mid-Week Munch: Chicken Tortilla Soup

{The Mid-Week Munch is a weekly series in which I plan to post a new recipe each Wednesday.  Getcha over that hump!}

I first experienced chicken tortilla soup (which sounded odd to me) on Balboa Island, where we would often go to walk around the tiny island and enjoy the air and quaint little shops in the evenings.  I came to love this filling soup, with rice on the bottom and chunks of intriguing vegetables floating about and slices of fresh avocado and tortilla strips crowning the top.  I can no longer visit the island as often as I would like so I set about to recreate it.  It is a winter favorite!

For this soup, I like to buy a whole chicken from the market and have the butcher chop it into pieces for me (Yes! They will do that for you on request!).  I then use the thighs, legs, and wings to make Arroz Con Pollo and the breasts to make this soup. (Save the neck for chicken stock later.)

For this soup, it is best--and easy--to make your own chicken stock which can be done using the carcass of an already baked chicken or alternatively you could just take a whole, raw chicken and use it to make both the stock and the chicken for the soup.  Here is a good recipe for that. Don't be scared!

This is a delicious alternative to chicken noodle!  It is a little bit of work, but not too much--definitely worth it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
serves 4-6

You will Need:
2 chicken breasts
2 TBL olive oil
a mixture of 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 or 1/2 tsp paprika, little sprinkling cayenne pepper
1 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 TBL tomato paste (optional)
3 TBL cornmeal (optional)
1 quart chicken stock (preferrably homemade, which is super easy)
can of corn
About 2 or 3 zucchinis, rinsed and cubed or cut into thick chunks
2 cups white rice or spanish rice
Garnishes: fried corn tortilla strips (chopped corn tortillas fried till crispy in oil)
                1 avocado, sliced into slivers
                1-2 cups fresh chopped cilantro
                lime, cut into wedges
                sour cream

For the chicken:
1. Start by rubbing chicken breast with 1TBL olive oil and rubbing them with seasoning. Set aside any seasoning you have left over.
2. Bake on a tray in the over at 375 for 20 to 25 min. or until done.
3. Remove and let cool before shredding chicken with a fork. Set aside.

For the soup:
1. Meanwhile: Heat remaining 1 TBL olive oil in a stock pot on medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes, and any left over seasoning to the pot. Cook stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, until cooked down and pulpy.
2. Add 3 Tbl tomato paste (if using) and 1 quart chicken stock. Season generously with salt and pepper if you are using homemade stock (otherwise, check for salt and season accordingly).
3. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for 20 min, keeping a lid on it slightly ajar.
4. If using cornmeal (which will add a little heft to the body of the soup), add a little hot water or some of your stock to the cornmeal and stir.  Add cornmeal mixture to pot and simmer for another 30 minutes.
5. During the last few minutes of cooking, add zucchini.
6. Remove from heat, add shredded chicken and corn and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.

For serving:
1. Place 1/4 cup or so of rice in the bottom of each bowl.
2. Ladle a hearty amount of soup with plenty of chicken and veggies into each bowl.
3. Garnish each bowl to taste with cilantro, avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips and lime.
4. Enjoy!

3 comments:

Kiddins said...

I didn't know the butcher would cut it up for you :) thats good to know!

allisonescalante said...

Your use of the word carcass really intensified the post for me.

Corynne Escalante said...

Kiddins: I know! i love the butcher!

Oh, ally. <3