Friday, March 13, 2009
Cold Buster: Mexican Style Chicken Soup with Chiles
Of course, I should have known better than to think we were out of the woods already; after all, it's only March. There's still bits of snow on the ground here in Wisconsin, and the temperatures won't be steadily above 50ºF for another 3-4 weeks.
Sure enough, I woke up on Tuesday with the rumblings of a sore throat. I took a nice wopping dose of Vitamin C, as a precaution, but I chalked the scratchiness up to a rough night of snoring. Heh. By Wednesday, when the sniffles started settling in, I was pretty sure that something more than sleeping with my mouth open was to blame. And today... well, today I'm verifiably cold-ridden. Serves me right for getting all cocky and thinking my immune system was impenetrable.
On the up-side, feeling under the weather always gets me in the mood for a nice big bowl of soup. And I've got a pretty fantastic version to share with you today. This actually started out with the intention of being an easy-peasy tortilla soup... but the direction turned a bit when I discovered a few stray dried chiles sitting around in the back of my fridge.
Mmm. Chiles. There weren't many of them, so they'd be perfect thrown into my soup. But, the process for rehydrating them would add a bit of time to the soup prep, and I wasn't really sure I was up to it. But, after taking a nice big whiff of their rich, smoky aroma, I pulled them out of the bag and tossed them into some warmed chicken broth and let them soak for a good 1/2 hour.
When they were sufficiently softened, I blenderized them into the smoothest puree I could manage.
And then, just to be safe, I threw the whole mess through a fine sieve to get out all the seeds and funky little bits that are inevitably left over.
I sauteed some onions & garlic, threw in a bit of cumin and some Mexican oregano. And then I turned up the heat a bit. When the pan was nice and hot, I threw in the chile puree all at once and let it sear nicely. I added some tomato sauce, and then let the sauce reduce a bit before I added the remaining ingredients -- some additional broth, a bay leaf, and some minced red bell pepper.
After the soup had simmered for a while, I also threw in about a 1/2 pound of shredded collard greens. After all, why not take the health benefits up a notch with a bit of leafy-green action?
By the time the greens were cooked and I'd thrown in some cooked chicken and a bit of frozen corn, the kitchen smelled positively irresistable. Between the smoky chiles and the savory broth, I was seriously feeling better already. I poured a nice big serving into a bowl, and stuffed my face down into it. *huff* This was some seriously good food for a person who started off feeling not-so-much like cooking.
A bit of avocado, a couple of crunchy tortilla strips, and a liberal dose of cilantro (mmm... antioxidents), and I was all set for dinner.
I don't know about your mother, but my mother sure didn't make chicken soup that tasted like this!
Mexican style Chicken Soup with Chiles
©BURP! Where Food Happens