CWN Cookbook – Chicken Tortilla Soup

As was shown to me this week, I get larger spikes in views when I blog about politics as opposed to recipes. Of course that could be related to not linking another blog from the #amwriting web site. Also, it does take a special person to take recipe advice from a guy named Zombie Joe. That said, I’m still going to give you another recipe from the Change Write Now cookbook I am compiling.

A while back I picked up a copy of Eva Longoria’s cookbook. Mistakenly I picked it up in ebook format. I found that my Nook takes a long time to load the photos – and there are a lot of photos in the book. My first attempt at the soup involved using a full chicken to boil, but otherwise was according to the recipe. I found that my wife declared the soup too spicy, so I made some modifications to it due to produce availability here and taste. What we came up with is a tasty soup that is low in calories and sodium, but good enough to eat often.

Grocery List

  • 4 pounds of chicken legs
  • 4 pounds of chicken thighs
  • 4 cups of low-salt chicken stock
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1-2 medium-large onions
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 4 fresh tomatoes (or 2 cans of diced tomatoes)
  • 2 bunches of fresh cilantro (our store sells pre-chopped in a tube)
  • ground ancho chili

In addition to the above list, you’ll want to have some olive oil handy for sauteing the peppers and onions. You can also use other spices to your taste, but other than a pinch of sea salt, anything else would get lost. The only change in spices I have is using the jalapeno instead of the second pepper listed in the original recipe (as well as using fresh instead of dried), and using ancho powder instead of dried ancho. (Dried ancho is tough to get around here, and I keep a stock of dried for making cupcakes.)

Stage One

Fill a large pot up with the stock, water and chicken, bring to a boil for around 30 minutes to boil the chicken.

While that is boiling use a pan with a little olive oil in it to saute the garlic and the strips of jalapeno (wash and clean the seeds out first). Once they are cooked through (only 4-5 minutes over a medium heat) put them into a blender (we use a Ninja) with the tomatoes. You can mix the ancho pepper into here as well, but I put it right in the soup to minimize the affect on my lungs. The recipe calls for putting the onions in the food processor as well, but we like the strings of caramelized onions in the soup.

Stage Two

With the salsa ready to go, put the chopped up onion into the pan with olive oil. Saute them until the get clear-ish but don’t let them burn. Burnt onion strips in this soup would ruin it.

Around this time the chicken should be getting close to done. Once the chicken is cooked through (juices come out of the meat clear), remove the chicken and set it aside to cool. If the chicken you used was particularly fatty, skim any fat out of the stock left in the soup pot. We haven’t had to skim it yet.

Mix the salsa, the onions and the ancho pepper into the stock and leave it in there, off of the heat. Wait for the chicken to cool.

Final Stage

Once the chicken is cooled down, remove the meat from the bone and tear it into small pieces. You can chop it, but tearing it is faster and offers a sort of lizard brain satisfaction to it. Once all of the chicken is torn into small pieces (removing any skin, bones, etc. from it) deposit the chicken back into the pot with the broth and bring to simmer. Throw in the chopped cilantro (even the prechopped stuff) and let simmer until warm (about 3-5 minutes)

This soup can be served over tortilla chips, but I usually don’t as it takes time to make the tortilla curls and it adds calories. Lettuce and a dollop of sour cream are also part of the original recipe, but I stick to just the soup. I have grown in the habit of having cornbread with it though.

Serving Size: 1 cup

Actual Serving: 1 bowl (usually 2 cups)

Calories (per cup): 100

Yield: I forget the exact number, but I think it was around 26 cups give or take.

Pairings: Normally my bottle of water and a cornbread muffin.

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