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Cooking with Rod

By Rod Cohenour

Chicken-Poblano Tortilla Soup

(By Rod and Melinda Cohenour New Year 2015/2016)

     This is a variation of the Southwest version of classic Chicken soup. It is said the original Chicken Tortilla Soup is a cure-all for anything that ails you. Natives even endow it with almost magical qualities. Some say it was originally created by the Shamans or Medicine Women. To taste it will make you a believer.

     My wife and I have created our own version of the classic Chicken Tortilla Soup and the following recipe is filled with our personal twists on the original. The recipe takes a bit of effort but is well worth it!

     Winter time seems to be the perfect season for warm soups and stews. This one is one of my favorites and allows my wife and I to not only prepare it together, but also Enjoy It Together!

Happy New Year and Bon Appetit!

To prepare chicken and broth:

  • 4-5 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 stalk celery, including leafy top, de-string and chop
  • 1 bell pepper, deseeded and cut in large dice
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 3 quarts water

    1. Place chicken and vegetables into large stewpot, season all with poultry seasoning. Add water and bring to a boil, lower heat and continue to simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes until chicken has cooked through and vegetables are soft.
    2. Remove from heat, permit to cool, remove chicken to cutting board and allow to cool.
    3. Remove vegetables from the liquid and set aside for later use.
    4. The liquid should be poured into a tall, narrow container and placed in the refrigerator to cool and permit fat to rise to the top. When broth has cooled and fat has solidified, remove the fat and set the container out to permit liquid to return to room temperature.
    5. Then, add the vegetables back to the broth and blend until smooth. Set aside. This process may require two to three steps depending on the size of your blender container. Your goal will be to have 2-3 quarts broth for soup preparation.
    6. Remove skin and bones from cooled chicken and cube. Set aside.

To prepare soup:

  • 2 lg Poblano peppers, char under broiler, when all sides are blistered with some brown and black spots, remove from pan, place in plastic bag and set aside while preparing the other vegetables. After other vegetables are chopped, remove the Poblano peppers from the bag and remove the outside skin. Flesh should be soft, so handle gently to cut into to dice. Set aside.
  • 2 lg bell peppers, one red, one green, deseeded and medium dice (1/2 or so)
  • 1 lg onion, medium dice
  • 2 lg carrots, slice into dimes
  • 4 stalks celery, de-string and cut into slices
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin

Using large cookie sheet (or any flat oven-proof pan with a rim) spread diced vegetables over the pan, sprinkle with vegetable oil and lightly season with cumin and pepper. Gently toss by hand to make sure all surfaces of the vegetables are pretty evenly covered with oil, pepper and cumin. Place under broiler, about 6-8 inches from heat source. Broil until lightly browned, removing pan and tossing vegetables a couple of times over a 20-30 minute period. Remove from oven and set aside.

Additional ingredients and final preparation:

  • 2 packages Taco seasoning mix
  • 1 can drained whole kernel corn
  • 1 can drained black beans
  • Pkg Tortilla strips (lightly salted or No-Salt)

Optional garnishes:

  • Crisp, cold radish slices
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, no stems
  • Sour cream
  • Green onions, tops and bulbs, diced
  • Warm flour tortillas
  • Sweet creamery butter
  • Tortilla strips

    1. To large stewpot, add chicken, Poblano peppers and roasted vegetables. Add chicken broth and taco seasoning mix packets. Stir to ensure blended well. Add cans of drained corn and black beans.
    2. Heat soup over medium heat, do not bring back to a boil, but to a light simmer.
    3. When all has heated through, prepare individual bowls of soup:

To serve:

Place a handful of tortilla strips in a large soup bowl, ladle soup over the top. Sprinkle with grated cheese and a few leaves of fresh cilantro.

Serve with optional garnishes or select your own.

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