The other day I was in one of those “what am I going to make for dinner” quandaries. I knew I wanted to use some fresh corn I had on hand and I was NOT going to make a special trip to the store for any dinner ingredients. After a quick inventory of what I had in the pantry/fridge and a quick recipe search, I decided to make Mexican Chicken Soup. Now I know that September isn’t quite soup weather but, hey, we live in the Pacific Northwest and it was overcast and rainy on this particular day. Soup was definitely going to be on the menu!
Not only is this Mexican Chicken Soup hearty and filling, but it’s easy and can be made with ingredients you keep stocked up on (beans, frozen corn, chicken broth, etc). I love the smoky flavor that the chipotle chiles bring to the broth. Mmmm, it’s so good! My soup was fairly spicy which could’ve been due to the size and/or heat of the jalepeno chile I used. If you prefer a milder soup, leave out the jalepeno chile entirely and just use some of the canned chipotle chile and the adobo sauce it is packed in. I didn’t have kidney beans so I used a can each of black beans and pinto beans. For the garnish, I simply topped each bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. The avocado and jack cheese would be delicious, too, but don’t sweat it if you don’t have it.
Mexican Chicken Soup
-recipe from Cook’s Country Magazine
Mexican chicken soup is a thicker, richer, spicier rendition of everybody’s favorite soup. Beans, corn, tomatoes, and chiles all play a role. Garnish the soup with avocado, Monterey Jack cheese, and cilantro. You can temper the heat of this spicy soup by reducing the amount of adobo sauce. Serves 6 to 8.
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 large onion , quartered
4 cloves garlic , peeled
10 sprigs cilantro
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice , drained, with juice reserved
1/2 jalapeno chile , seeds and ribs removed
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce plus 1 tablespoon sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 (14-ounce) cans kidney beans , drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons lime juice
Bring 4 cups broth, chicken, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in large skillet over high heat. Cover and cook over low heat until chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate.
Puree tomatoes, remaining 2 onion quarters, remaining 2 garlic cloves, jalapeño, chipotle, and adobo sauce in blender until smooth.
Heat oil in Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add tomato mixture and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook until darkened in color, 8 to10 minutes. Strain broth directly into pot with tomato puree (discard solids). Add remaining 2 cups broth, reserved tomato juice, corn, and beans and simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Shred or dice chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to soup. Stir in lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Test Kitchen Discoveries
•Use boneless and skinless chicken thighs, which are far moister and richer flavored than white breast meat.
•Poaching the chicken in canned chicken broth will enrich the broth and make it taste homemade.
•For authentic flavor, “fry” the pureed tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chiles until the flavor and color have intensified. Most Mexican sauces are prepared in this fashion.
•Smoky chipotle chiles add both heat and a rich flavor to the casserole. These chiles, which are smoked jalapeños, come packed in a tomato-based adobo sauce. Small cans of the chiles are found in the Mexican foods section of most supermarkets.