This is post #101. Not that you are counting. But I am. Well, WordPress counts for me…so I have watched the number steadily climb week by week. And still the number took me by surprise. Not surprised in that 101 comes after 100, which in turn comes after 99, but that the number came up so quickly. That I have written 100, almost 101 posts. Who knew I had so much to share or that I am still loving it as much today as that first week. Maybe more. No, most definitely more. I feel much more comfortable behind the camera, in the kitchen, and on paper. And by paper, I mean on the computer. From figuring out how to maneuver myself around the behind the scenes action of a blog to actually typing words on the screen…finding my voice, if you will – however silly that may sound, it is true. Actually making sense of my own thoughts and putting them down on paper. To have others relate to my entries. All of it, it has been great! And thus, I begin the journey to post #200….one at a time, lets not rush this. I am having too much fun!
What is on the docket for post 101?
It is winter and I am getting my fill of soup. Because, even though I sort of dread the cold and haven’t truly stopped shivering since Halloween, spring will be here before I know it. Winter will be gone and with it will go the comforting steamy hot bowls of soup. I can not eat soup beyond April…maybe May since I do live in Cleveland and it might still snow….Let’s not think about that. OK? OK.
Spicy Mexican Chicken Soup.
I have made this soup a million times over. Well, maybe just like ten times or so but, never have I made it the same twice. Mainly because I have never taken the time to write down the recipe, but also because there are so many different variations. You are lucky though, I have gotten into the habit of keeping pen and paper in the kitchen along side the cutting board and measuring spoons. Kinda like a kitchen diary….or is it journal since I am no longer 12?
I prefer my soup to be hearty and chunky. To have some body. To be a meal in a bowl. I don’t like thin brothy soups…maybe when I am sick, but not when I am healthy and happy. Stoup would be more accurate a term…Thank you Rachel Ray. I will however never say EVOO. Ever. But stoup, that I can get behind.
My stoup has tons of chicken – which you can decrease if you like, but I love lots of chicken in my chicken soup. There are beans and tomatoes and peppers and spices – all of which you can increase or decrease depending on your likes and dislikes. See why I have never made this soup the same twice? The variations are endless. So, tonight this is my version. Next time around the version may be tweaked a bit depending, well depending on my mood and what is in my pantry.
Mexican Chicken Soup
4 Split Chicken Breasts, bone-in with skin (about 4 cups total shredded meat; decrease if you prefer less chicken)
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 Jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced
1 medium Onion, diced
3 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
2+1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1+1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Oregeno
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Can Diced Tomatoes – 28 ounces
1 Can Green Chilies – 4 ounces
1 Can Black Beans – 15 ounces, drained and rinsed
6 Cups Chicken Broth
4 Tablespoons Corn Meal
1/3 Cup Warm Water
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and place chicken breasts, skin side up, on the sheet. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons olive oil over chicken and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake/roast for 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices run clear or the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Shred into bite size pieces. Set aside.
Warm remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in large pan or dutch oven, and place over medium heat. Add diced onion, jalapeno, red bell pepper, garlic and begin to saute. Stirring occasionally. Once the vegetables begin to soften (about 5 minutes) add the chili powder, garlic powder, oregeno, cumin, and the salt and pepper (to taste – you can always add more at the end!) Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken.
Add canned tomatoes (with juices), green chilies, black beans, and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes.
30 minutes into the simmering, mix together the corn meal and warm water. Let sit for the remaining 15 minutes. Once the 45 minutes is up, stir in the corn meal/water mixture and continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Give it a taste test here and adjust seasonings to your tastebuds.
Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.
I prefer sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh jalapenos. With a side of tortilla chips!
P.S. This holds up very well in the freezer!
p.s.s. If you do not have time to roast chicken breasts or just don’t want to, go ahead and use leftover chicken or a ready made rotisserie chicken from the grocery – those things are mighty handy!