Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Style

Buying Direct TV for the duration of a 6-hour plane flight is not a good idea if you are easily inspired.  It is like putting a fox in the hen house.  As a result of an extended exposure to cooking shows on my last cross-country flight, I now have a perfected Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe with a twist of fun and lime.

This will be a bonus post because I will include my method of making chicken stock, fried rice and tortilla toppers at the end of the recipe.  You don't have to use the homemade version of these items.  Just use whatever is convenient for you.

This fun version of Tortilla Soup is done by layering rice, beans and cheese in your bowl first, and then covering it with your tortilla soup.  Lastly, you will top it with your favorite toppers.

 Tortilla Soup

Chicken stock (3 quarts) recipe for homemade below
Better than boullion chicken base (1-2 Tablespoons)
Salsa verde (8 ozs)
Roasted corn (3/4 cup) regular corn is fine
Carrots (2-4 cut up in small pieces)
Green onions  (two, chopped well into the green part)
Celery (two stalks chopped)
Canned diced green chillies (1 small can or a little less)
Taco seasoning (3/4  of the package)
Roasted chicken ( a breast, three thighs; chopped in bite-sized pieces)

These are the approximate amounts I used.  You can adjust to your personal tastes and what you have on hand.  I simmer everything but the chicken for about and hour, then add the roasted chicken at the end so it doesn’t fall apart so much.  You can serve this immediately or let it cool and reheat it when you are ready.  The flavors seem to meld together more when reheated.  The salsa verde is a new thing I tried a while ago.  I think it does for the chicken stock, what canned tomatoes do for a beef broth when you are making vegetable soup.

You can use whatever kind of rice you have on hand.  But if you want to try making fried rice, here is the way I do it.  Put 3-4 tablespoons of a half butter/half oil mixture in a skillet and heat it.  Add two cups of rice and toss until rice is thoroughly coated.  Fry the rice on a low-medium heat until it is lightly browned.  Add 4 cups of chicken broth made with Better than Boullion chicken base.  Cook 20 minutes on low or until done.  Toss lightly to separate rice grains.

You can use canned black beans or cook your own.  To cook your own, simmer raw beans for 3-4 hours or until tender.  Drain.

Layer the hot rice, hot beans and cheese; then cover with tortilla soup.  Top with your favorite toppings.

Suggested Toppings
Cheddar cheese
Jack cheese
Cotilla cheese
Sour cream
Tortilla toppers (recipe below)

Top off with a twist of lime!  And pass the margarita pitcher, please.

To make Tortilla Toppers
Lightly brush flour tortillas with cooking oil.  Cut in small strips.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool.  This may work with corn tortillas, but I haven’t tried that yet.

Chicken Stock
Bony chicken pieces (I include necks, hearts, gizzards (but not the liver), wings backbones, ribs and other bones leftover from when I roast whole chickens.)
Carrots (3-4 cut in 1-2 inch lengths)
Onions (half an onion cut in fourths and the layers separated)
Celery (3-4 stalks plus greens)

I don't usually measure just throw it all in a pot and simmer for 3-5 hours.  I usually use a 6-quart pot.  I probably have my pot at least half full of water.  Strain all the stuff out and cool the broth, then chill for twenty-four hours.  Remove the hardened layer of fat from the top.  You should have a medium thin gelatinous mixture.  I use this chicken stock for my dressings and casseroles also.

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