Chicken Soup for the Soul – My Way

Chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food, also having medicinal benefits in most cultures across the globe. Being slightly obsessed with home-made stock lately, I finally got myself to trying the infamous Mexican inspired Chicken Tortilla soup.

I confess that I am guilty of using store-bought stock and on occasion even bullion’s to enhance the flavors. Perhaps lately I have been whipping up quite a few dishes which use chicken stock as one of the key ingredients. Which led me to start cooking my own stock. It is time-consuming but if you plan ahead, it is easily doable. Additionally you can use the cooked chicken in various dishes too.

Chicken Stock  for me turned out to a be a versatile canvas to create multi-cuisine dishes.  Why not spice up the stock, adding another dimension to your end product? For example since I was making a Mexican inspired soup I added cilantro stems, bay leaves, and star anise to the stock. Enough chatting try this recipe and do share with me your results. Happy Eating!!

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

Ingredients:

For stock:

  • 3 carrots, chunks
  • 3 celery ribs, chunks
  • 2 onions, chunks
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds, fresh)
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 1/2 quart cold water
  • 25 cilantro stems
  • 2 bay leaves

For Soup:

  • 2 star anise
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 jalapenos finely sliced
  • 2 limes juiced
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 cup wild or brown rice

For Garnish:

  • mixture of flour and corn tortillas, sliced long
  • 2 firm-ripe avocados, cubed
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • chopped cilantro

Directions:

Make stock:

  1. Bring all stock ingredients to a boil with 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large pot, then skim foam. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered, skimming foam occasionally for 2 hours.
  2. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, then pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard solids.
  3. Shred the chicken once cool removing the skin and bones.

Finish soup:

  1. Toast spices in a skillet shaking skillet occasionally, until it releases aroma & is a shade darker. Grind the spices in a spice grinder to powder.
  2.  Add ground spices, chipotles, and 1/4 cup stock and puree in a blender.
  3.  Saute onions till translucent in a large pot, add jalapeno and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add stock, pureed chilies, rice and bring to boil. Simmer covered until rice is cooked, about 30 minutes.
  5. While soup simmers, fry the sliced  tortillas till golden brown.
  6. When rice is tender, add shredded chicken, lime juice, cilantro, and salt to taste to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Check for seasonings.
  7. Serve hot with lime wedges, cilantro, avocado, and tortilla strips at the table.

 

Black Bean Salad

I love this salad, it’s not only colorful and filling, it exudes bold flavors of chili and lime (unusual combination in salads). This black bean salad is best served warm or at room temperature. The beans and vegetables should be glistening with the vinaigrette.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. cumin powder
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Hot-pepper sauce, to taste
  • 2 small yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 Anaheim chilies
  • 2 jalapeño chilies
  • 2 cans (each 15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced

Directions:

  1. Broil or grill the peppers and onions till charred. Cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Pick over the vegetables, removing most of the burned skin and leaving some charred bits. Dice the vegetables to a uniform size and place in a large salad bowl.
  2. To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and a few dashes of hot-pepper sauce.
  3. Add the black beans, cilantro, red onion and vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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