Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mexican Chicken Soup as Made by an American

My Dad was in town over the weekend. I see my Father more frequently than I do anyone else in my family. Fortunately, I'm fond of my Dad. Each visit he makes, I try to take him to a different restaurant so he can buy me a delicious meal.
Knowing my Father's priorities frequently makes taking him out difficult because he'll eat anything but food tastes better to him if it's cheap. A point I strongly disagree with. So, we've been waiting and waiting to take him to our new favorite place. It's a place called Maher's and it's an adorable little Irish pub with food that will encourage embarrassing displays of over-eating. Each time I go there, I think about learning to make some good corned beef hash or delectable cabbage. The problem is, I'm terrible at ethnic cooking - unless I'm cooking Mexican.

This recipe is for Mexican Chicken Soup and has made me pretty popular around my apartment. This is a time consuming meal to make, especially when you do not own a food processor and chop all your vegetables by hand. However, it's WORTH it! I like to start this soup at about 3:30 or 4:00pm. That way, I have time to cook it and it has time to simmer for a few hours before serving. It's not incredibly difficult, it's just time consuming. Like laundry.

2 whole chicken breast, bone in, skin on
1 whole yellow onion, diced
1 Cup celery, chopped
2 Cups carrots, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 Quarts chicken stock
1 can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed (28oz)
2 to 4 jalapenos, seeded and minced (unless you like the spice, then keep the seeds in)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander seed
1/3 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
good olive oil
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas (optional)

1. Place chicken breast on sheet pan, rub w/ oil, sprinkle w/ salt & pepper. Roast 34-40 minutes. When cooled, discard skin & bones, shred meat.

2. Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook @ med-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes w/ puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and cilantro.

3. (optional step) Cut tortillas into strips 1/2" thick and add to soup.

4. Bring to a boil the lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add chicken and let simmer as long as you'd like.

You can serve this soup garnished with any number of things: avocado slices, sour cream, cheddar cheese, crushed chips, whatever - just enjoy it!

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