Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

served with Knock your socks off Sangria!924d51e78d42b6c1f65bedf3b33bad02_chicken-tortilla-soup-580x326_featuredImage.jpg

This is a favorite dish in our house… it’s fairly easy though like most things it’s best if you put forth the little extra steps, just the same it’s fabulous even if you’re in a rush, and it’s always appreciated. I promise once you make it at home, you’ll never order it out again, nor will anyone else you cook it for!!
Cook this for someone special, for a group to impress, to create memories. There is something about the spices filling the air; really get’s the appetite (and all the senses) excited! It’s great for beating the summer’s heat, rainy days, and as it has recently been  here in NYC… subarctic temperatures.  Like most stews and soups, it’s even better the next day, so make plenty! Trust me this dish is very easy to add personal touches that make everyone really feel the love.
The tricks here, besides making it taste really good… are the spices and the presentation - the way you shred the chicken, the way you plate, the extra touches… really makes this a beautiful and most flavorful dish that sparks passion, conversations, love, and creates memories. It’s a go to, it’s easy, and it’s one of my favorites.
*Side note--- this is a fantastic dish to substitute with leftover Turkey!

Prep Time: 1 hr Difficulty: Easy
Cook time: 2 hr - 3hr Servings: 4-6 entree
  • 2 lbs Shredded Roasted Chicken (1 is plenty, 2 is hearty, you can always save rest for other purposes)
  • 8 cups Chicken broth
  • 3 Jalapeno peppers -or 1 Poblanos ( seeded and chopped)
  • 2 tsp crushed Garlic
  • 2 cups chopped Yellow Onion (about 3 large)
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 1 bunch chopped Cilantro (more for garnish)
  • salt - to taste.
  • 2 Tbsp Lime juice
  • 8 Corn Tortillas - stale or dried out if can
  • 2 cups Veg Oil - for frying
  • 3 Tbsp Creole Seasoning  (I make my own, but should be easy enough to find or Cajun)
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado - sliced or cubed
  • hot sauce - your favorite for the table -
** if you are serving as an appetizer you can use less chicken or more broth; above is a filling portion.
** When reheating … add more water at heat up because the soup is now concentrated - but not stock,  it’ll devour your spices and the perfect flavor you’ve built here.
Start with the Chicken! I suggest you roast or bake your own, something about the extra touch and love thrown into the entirety of the dish, it also gives you a signature touch that only you can put into it -  it was highly noticed and mentioned the one time I tried to save time! - Never again!
However if you must you can always buy a pre-roasted bird at pretty much every grocery store, and if you’re not interested in the dark meat, of course chicken breast it is.  Tear the cooked bird apart by hand leaving only the carcass and if you’ve got hang-ups about the skin, than that too. For the love of God, double check and make sure you’ve gotten all the bones out!
While Chicken is cooking…
Fry your tortillas. Get this out of the way as soon as possible so that the fried smell dissipates as soon as possible and doesn’t take over the beautiful aroma of spices and roasted Chicken. You really want the full experience here, everyone else will really appreciate it too! Also you have plenty of time to get that nasty grease cleaned up before anyone notices.
Heat the Vegetable oil in skillet at a med-high. Cut the tortillas in slices ¼ inch length, then in half, if they’re not stale dab them with a paper towel to make sure dry before frying. Carefully sprinkle the tortillas around the hot oil, use tongs or a slotted spoon, turning after slightly colored -- if using colored tortilla’s, be very careful to watch them puff up rather than depend on color because they will blacken really fast!
Once fried, place spread out on paper towels to absorb extra oil,  sprinkle with creole/cajun spices generously, let rest on towels and set aside. *Make sure your creole seasoning has plenty of salt, if not add it now.
Set aside! Try not to eat them all before serving! You’ll need them to thicken the soup and for garnish!
Next: The soup!
In a dutch oven or heavy pot heat the olive oil on Med-High. Saute the onions, peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander and salt for about 4-8 minutes. Don’t burn and don’t worry if the veg isn’t cooked all the way through, it’s going to melt by the time you serve the soup. Mix in the tomato paste and cook out for another minute. Add the chicken stock, bring to a gentle simmer 45 minutes! Can be less at a higher simmer, but again it’s just not the same! Take the extra time.  This can also be done longer but really shouldn’t be more than hour because it will reduce. Just make sure you turn off off the heat and then back on before adding the chicken.
Next toss the chicken in, still at a gentle simmer for another 15-20 minutes, slow and low here because you want that chicken to really absorb the spice and be moist. (*if your chicken was too dry to start, add the chicken to soak it all in an hour before turning the heat back on.)
Once the chicken is in, add ½ of the fried tortillas. You want this in around the same because those tortilla’s need to dissolve and thicken up your soup! With the spices taking their time to slowly meld as well.
This is the final step and then you’re nearly done. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro just before serving. Don't forget to taste!
Now the plating… have fun with this! Get mixed color bowls and under plates, it’s a fun dish, so enjoy. Ladle soup in dish and then a spoon to scoop sour cream in the center. Cover with fried tortilla chips, then sprinkle the avocado on top (if it’s shyte - and you’re not in California - omit), finishing with more cilantro or a sprig if you please. You can leave a bottle of hot sauce out for people who want to kick theirs up,  though it’s probably absolutely perfect at this point! Good Job!
Now let’s finish with a bang…
*Margarita’s would be fun and for the Non-drinker, a lime & cucumber seltzer water! 
But I’m a huge fan of Sangria for this fun fabulous dish!  (listed below.)

Knock your socks off Sangria: Just the way it should be...sangria1.jpg
  • 2 bottles Cabernet, or any red really but might as well go cheaper
  • 1 Cup Peach Schnapps- or- Raspberry, blackberry -not sour apple!
  • 1 Cup Triple Sec or orange flavored liquor… can sub OJ… this will have enough booze!
  • ½ cup  Brandy, cognac, bourbon… whisky if you must, this will be sweet enough!
  • cut up 2 green apples, seedless grapes, 1orange sliced thinly (pretty much anything in season, I love peaches) - let marinate in mixed liquor
  • Seltzer water - for topping off not in the mix.
Fill glass with ice, fill 2/3rds with Sangria,, add a spoon of the marinated fruit,and top off with Seltzer water. Voila…