Saturday, September 7, 2013

Zesty Green Chile, Corn and Chicken Soup

I've been kicking around the idea for this soup for some time and hadn't gotten around to taking the time to thinking it out and then actually making it. All I can say is I waited too long - Zesty Green Chile, Corn and Chicken Soup is a success!

As this soup simmers, the aromas of the spices, chilies and chicken are delightfully mouthwatering. You'll be standing by the pot with a ladle in hand ready to fill your bowl! Don't be put off by the list of ingredients, the most "time-consuming" part is dicing the onion, peppers and garlic, everything else is just added in. For my family, this is the perfect soup for a Monday night (or any night), after a long day at work. Now, if you are not wild about heat from chilies in your food, no need to fear, green chilies are very mild!
The tortilla "paste" technique in this recipe is one that I learned from a friend a very long time ago. I had hand-written the instructions at the back of a Better Homes & Garden cookbook I have had since the 1980s. I think it was one of my very first cookbooks. I knew I needed to use this in my soup, because not only would it certainly lend the rustic flavor of the "masa" that is used to make the tortillas but it would also act as a thickener. My soup is satisfying and flavorsome, it is simple to make, whips up quickly and it is easy on the budget. What more could you ask for? Well ... Maybe seconds!

Serves 4

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Medium red onion, diced
1 Medium green bell pepper, diced
3 - 4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 - 4 Ounce can of fire-roasted green chiles, undrained
1 - 10 Ounce can of green chili sauce
1 - 15.5 Ounce can pinto beans
1 - 15.25 Ounce can of whole kernel corn, undrained
1 - 10 Ounce can of diced tomatoes, seasoned with lime & cilantro
Flour tortilla paste:
   3 flour tortillas, chopped. Place in a food processor with 1/4 cup of milk and
   blend until it forms a thick paste. If too dry, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a
   time and blend.
1 Teaspoon cumin
1 Teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste (optional)
1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon salt 
2 Cups chicken stock
2 Breasts from a store bought roasted chicken, skin removed (or you can roast the chicken yourself). Slice each breast lengthwise (as if butterflying), then dice into 1/2 cubes.
1/2 cup rice

To dress the soup:
Cilantro - handful chopped
2-3 Green Onions, sliced on the bias
Monterrey Jack & Colby shredded cheese
2 Ripe avocados diced
Crema or Sour Cream to taste
2-3 Limes, cut in wedges
4 Flour tortilla or more to make chips

Heat a deep pot over medium heat, add the onions, peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 - 7 minutes. While the vegetables cook you can make the flour tortilla paste. Add the roasted green chiles, undrained and cook for 3 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir in the next 4 ingredients and allow to heat through to a simmer, then add the flour tortilla paste, stir well until incorporated into liquid. Add the cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt, chicken stock, diced chicken and rice.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Ladle soup into deep bowls, add diced avocados, sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, shredded cheese and top with crema or sour cream to taste. Squeeze lime to taste. Crunch up tortilla chops over top ... big in!

Serve with store bought or home made tortilla chips. For home made chips cut 4 - 6" tortillas into triangle, preheat oven to 425, brush tortillas with canola oil sprinkle with salt, and bake for 4-5 minutes.

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