Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hot Stuff!

I love Mexican food, but many dishes are usually heavy aka loaded with fat/calories. I've come across Chicken Tortilla Soup in many blogs and it was on my to-make-list for a while, and since I just made some chicken broth, I decided to go for it. There are a lot of variations on this dish, but I chose this one from Confections of a Foodie Bride, I made some changes, as indicated in italics.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

8 plum tomatoes (I used 4 tomatoes)
4 tablespoons tbsp olive oil (I used 3tbsp)
1 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced (I used 4 cloves)
1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1/2 cup) (I used 1/2 of the pepper)
2 tsp chili powder (I used Mexican hot chili powder)
2 tsp ground cumin
5 cups chicken stock (I used 3 cups homemade stock)
1 large jalapeno pepper, diced
1 large poblano pepper, diced
1 dried ancho chile pepper (I omitted, my store didn't have any!)
1 (15-ounce) can peeled tomatoes (I used half the can with some juices)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne, to taste(optional)
3-4 cooked, shredded chicken breasts (I used 2 breasts)
8-10 oz corn, fresh or frozen (thawed) (I used 1/2 cup and threw in while frozen, cooks in the soup!)

For garnish:
avocado, peeled and sliced
tortilla chips or strips
plum tomatoes, diced
chopped fresh cilantro
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
fat free sour cream

To make the soup:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the plum tomatoes in half. Spread 1 Tbsp of the olive oil on a baking sheet or pizza pan and arrange the tomatoes on top, skin side up. Drizzle the tomatoes with another 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Roast the tomatoes for 35 minutes, until the skins wrinkle and the tomatoes are slightly brown around the edges.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, 4-qt soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper and sauté about 5 minutes, until the vegetables become soft. Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, 1 cup water, 1/2 the jalepenos and all of the poblanos. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover, decrease the heat and simmer about 15 minutes.

Place the leftover jalepenos, the canned tomatoes with their juices and the roasted tomatoes (included as much as possible of the juices and browned tomato bits) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree the chile-tomato mixture about 1 minute. Transfer the chile-tomato mixture to the soup and continue simmering, covered, about 1 hour.

Add salt and pepper to taste and ground red pepper (if using),cooked chicken, corn and gently heat until corn is hot.

Ladle the soup into medium bowls. Lean 3 to 4 slices of avocado against the edge of each bowl, partially sticking out of the soup. Arrange the tortilla chips or strips in a similar way. Sprinkle each bowl with a handful of diced tomatoes, some cilantro, and shredded cheese. Top with a spoonful of sour cream. Serve immediately.

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