Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup


Disclaimer: It has taken me almost a week to post this because it has taken me almost a week to get a picture of the final product. Life has gotten away from me. And as I sit here at a dance competition listening to teenage girls squeel, and sing Justin Beiber songs, while inhaling massive amounts of AquaNet, I feel myself losing my mind. And decided to post it without the final photo, and instead, a few randoms of the weather, and the process. Enjoy, and maybe I will post a photo tonight... If i don't pass out from  the fumes first!


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Last Saturday when I was trying to survive #SnowMG 2010, I decided it was a good idea to make some soup.

I mean, the boys and Boomer were out shoveling, and snow-blowing (including digging my car out from being parked on the street, and moving it to the driveway), Laura was at work, and I figured the least I could do was feed them something hot and comforting when they got home. Aren't I sweet?

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I have my moments.

Now everyone has their own version of Chicken Tortilla soup. And to be honest I was totally winging it as I went along. The final product ended up being completely different than what I was initially going for, but this soup turned out to be delicious, comforting, hearty, and a little spicy. And it's easy, chances are, if you have a well stocked pantry, you could go make this right now!

But, as good as this soup is, I have to be honest, the star of the show is the toppings!

Who doesn't love a good topping?! The fixings are what make the dish solely yours. They make that particular serving uniquely you. And everyone likes knowing that they are an individual, and I am giving you that opportunity! I care about your feelings, and your self-esteem, and I want you to feel like this soup was made just for you! The options are endless!

So the next time it's cold out, or there is a blizzard outside your window, or it's Tuesday, make this soup.

You won't regret it.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup
A Hannah Lives Original Recipe

1 lb chicken (skinless boneless chicken breasts)
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Onion diced
3 Garlic cloves minced
2 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Paprika
Pinch Cayenne
2- 4 oz cans of roasted green chiles
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
19 oz. can your favorite enchilada sauce
15 oz. can Black Beans
15 oz. can Whole Kernel Corn
Salt
Pepper

Toppings:
Crispy tortilla strips (recipe below)
Sour Cream
Shredded cheese (I like Monterey jack for this)
diced onion
salsa
diced or sliced jalapeno
diced avocado
lime wedges
tortilla chips

- Open cans of black beans, and corn. Drain and rinse, set aside
- In a large soup pot melt butter over low heat, add in onion and saute until soft
- When the onions are soft add in the garlic, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes
- Add in all of the dried spices, mix around until they are completely incorporated into the fat
- Add in green chiles, diced tomatoes, and enchilada sauce, then fill the enchilada sauce can with water and add to pot (~1 1/2 Cups) season with salt and pepper to taste
- Place chicken breasts in poot, and bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to a simmer, and cook until the chicken is cooked through (about 20 minutes)
-Once the chicken is cooked remove from liquid, allow to cool, shred, continue simmering liquid while the chicken cools
- Stir in beans, corn, and shredded chicken, simmer for another 5 minutes just to warm up the beans and corn
-Taste, and adjust salt and pepper, ladle into bowls and serve with toppings!

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(the secret ingredient)

Crispy Tortilla Strips
A Hannah Lives Original Recipe

5-6 Flour Tortilla (I used the small taco sized tortillas)
1 Tbsp Canola or Vegetable oil (Or non-stick spray- olive oil flavored)
1 tsp salt
-Preheat oven to 400*
- Cut tortillas into thin strips, about 1/2" wide
- Cut strips in half
-Place tortilla strips on baking sheet and toss with oil and salt
-Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, and crispy


Notes:
1. To make this go even faster you could use leftover chicken that has been shredded, or a rotisserie chicken, and then use store bought chicken stock, or broth for the liquid.
2. I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, because that is what I usually have in my freezer, but I think it would be even better with bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces. Once cooked discard skin and bones (but save the bones for homemade stock).
3. The enchilada sauce is my secret ingredient. I love the stuff. Any Tex-Mex dish can be improved by enchilada sauce. And I have yet to concoct a recipe for homemade that is better than the canned stuff. It gives the soup a flavor that gives the impression that it has been simmering all day. I don't judge canned foods. But if you don't like it, leave it out, it'll still taste great... just not as good as mine. :)
4. Some people hate when recipes say, salt and pepper to taste. I believe that recipes are more guidelines than anything. And I have a very hard time even writing recipes with specific measurements, because everyone's taste buds are different. I looooooove cumin, that is why I have 2 full tablespoons in this, but if you don't like, add 1 tablespoon, or heck, even just a teaspoon. My sister, for instance, is a salt fiend. Her taste buds are decidedly half dead so she has to add 2, or 3 times as much salt as a normal person. This has taught me to not get offended when I feed people, and they feel the need to salt their plates. What my wonderful older sister thinks is perfectly seasoned, I find inedible. It's a matter of taste, and your prerogative. But my advice is to start out slow. Salt, and pepper it, taste it, salt and pepper it again, taste it again. A little at a time. It's easy to add more, but it is nearly impossible to take it out.



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