soups for busy mamas (part 1)

20111024-145950.jpg Anytime of year is soup-time in my house, but inspiration strikes ten-fold when the leaves start to change and the temperatures drop. Over the next few weeks Ill be sharing my arsenal of veg filled yummy soups satisfies the tummy of my carbaholic toddler, as well as my meataholic husband. The trick is to find a little time on Saturday or Sunday with your cooktop, and a glass of wine doesnt hurt either. The quantity of each soup/stew makes 10 servings devoured over the course of 3 days (Monday-Wednesday).

#1 tortilla soup

  • 3 roasted chicken breasts (see note)
  • 2 cups sliced baby carrots
  • 1 large diced red onion
  • 5 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 3 chopped roasted red peppers (opt for pequillo)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 2 dried chilis, whole
  • 2 cups of beans: black, pinto, or bortolli work well
  • 1 quart of chicken stock (homemade is best)
  • couple of tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt pepper to taste
  • teeny pinch of saffron threads (optional)
  • garnishes: cilantro, lime, sour cream, extra hot peppers, avocado, and/or chalula hot sauce

Note re: roasted chicken

  • preheat oven to 425
  • in a sheet pan rub the chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper paprika
  • roast the chicken for 45-50 mins depending how much chicken and how large the pieces are
  • allow the chicken to cool down, then remove the skin and pull chicken from the bone (reserve both for later) and shred the chicken with your hands
  • I always use bone-in w/ skin chicken, whether it is dark or light meat. The flavor is better and you want to use the skin and bones when simmering the soup.

On to the soup:

  • In a large dutch oven or stock pot, add olive oil and reserved chicken skin. Warm pot to medium high, and while the fat renders and oil heats prepare the soffritto - chop the onion, carrots, roasted red peppers and garlic.
  • Toss in the soffritto and give it a stir. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika and cook until the vegetables soften (10-12 mins)
  • Add stock, dried chilies, tortillas, saffron, chicken meat, chicken bones, beans, and 1 quart of water.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour
  • After an hour check the seasonings and either simmer until dinner time or cool off before storing in the fridge.
  • When youre ready to dig in; garnish with cilantro, lime, sour cream, extra hot peppers, avocado, and/or cholula hot sauce

I store left overs in the pot I cook it in, just remember to let it cool before it goes into the fridge. This soup is gobbled up (speaking of gobble Turkey is a great substitution for chicken!) quickly, but will keep 3-4 days in the fridge.

other soup recipes: #2 chili #3 minestrone w/ tortelini