Eating better food for less and other tales from a no-moneymoon

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spicing Up Chicken Soup

I like spicy food, but real chili peppers put me in a panic. Small, cute...dangerous.

So sure enough, the grab bag that is our CSA turned up a red hot chili. Remaining calm, I carefully picked it up by the stem, dropped it in my "market" bag (a Domino Magazine R.I.P. freebie) and then forgot about it for a week.

As part of the freezer swap (we are loading in anew, but first the hoarded treasures must come out), I had two chicken breasts, bone in skin on, perfect for some soup. I also had a couple late summer ears of corn that needed to find their way into a meal, stat, and that darn little chili. Soup, spicy, chicken, corn...Mexican.

I won't pretend this is a Posole stew, since I didn't have hominy. But fresh corn subbed in nicely.

Spicy Mexican Chicken Soup

Olive oil
1/2 larger onion, diced
1/2 inch of hot red chili, seeded and minced
2 chicken breasts, bone and skin on
Salt and Pepper
2 corn cobs, cut off kernels and reserve cobs
5 cups water
1 lime
1/2 tomato
1/2 avocado
4-5 sprigs cilantro

In a dutch oven (or any big heavy pot) drizzle olive oil to cover the bottom (about 2 Tablespoons) and turn the heat to medium-high. Chop up half an onion and mince a very small part of a red hot chili. Saute until they start to look translucent.

Push aside the onion and chili, place the chicken skin side down in the center of the pot. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of cumin. Cook for about 4 minutes. The skin will begin to look brown. Do not turn it! But add in the two corn cobs and 5 cups water and more salt.

Turn back the heat and cook the chicken at a simmer about 8-10 minutes. Pull a piece of the chicken out and check to see if it is cooked through (white) inside. If done pull out chicken and set aside to cool.

Turn the heat back up and bring the broth to a boil. Cook for 5-8 minutes until it has reduced about an inch down the side of pot. Remove the corn cob and scrape off any corn bits and put them back into the pot.

Meanwhile, remove the skin and shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add the corn kernels in to the soup along with the chicken and turn off the heat. The heat of the broth will cook the kernels perfectly. Squeeze in the juice of one lime. Taste and adjust flavors. I added a little more salt.

Spoon the soup into bowls and add on top tomato, cilantro and avocado.

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