Thursday, December 6, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside!!

Wow! It's really cold outside today! How many of you immediately think of soup or chili as soon as we get that first blast of winter weather? I happen to be a big fan of soup on a year round basis, but it's almost a craving when the temperature takes a dive. Soups are also like a lot of one pot meals in that they taste better the next day, so that's definitely a time saver. Throw in a salad or sandwich, some cornbread or biscuits and you're a hero! There's just something that makes me feel l like I'm eating healthier, whether I really am or not. Anyway, I feel like I'm on the right track and doing something good for the family. My all time favorite soup is my Mom's vegetable beef soup. It takes her all morning to make and she starts out with beef ribs and when I was little, I remember her asking the butcher for "suet" to go in it. I tried asking for that last winter at my adored " Compton's Food Town" from Dale the Butcher (who is very accommodating) and he grinned at me like I had found out some big "Meat Thing" secret. He also told me that they didn't have any, as there was never any requests for it and so they just threw those good old pieces away. He agreed tho, that "soot" (suet) is indeed a mighty tasty ingredient. So suet-less, what do you do to beef up the taste? You cook the devil out of those rib bones and reduce the leftover liquid. I can't begin to write down how Mom or I make our vegetable beef soup, (and hers is always better), because that is one of those dishes that you just gotta work on and taste as you go. When it tastes right, it's done. Everybody has their own version and each one is right.
Here are a couple of recipes for Chicken Tortilla Soup that Linda had asked for. The first one is so easy and my boys really like it. I do substitute frozen corn and leftover rotisserie chicken for the canned, but have made it exactly like the following recipe and loved it. The next one is a little more involved, and definitely a little more revved up. Either one hits the spot when you're craving a little taste "South of The Border". Here you go, Linda.......let me know when you've tried them. comfortcook@gmail.com

Six Can Chicken Tortilla Soup

( makes 6 servings, Ready in 20 minutes!!!!!)

1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can chunk chicken
(1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 0z) can diced tomatoes with green chili peppers (Rotelle, mild or hot) drained

1 Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, chunk chicken, black beans and diced tomatoes with chilies. Pour everything into a large saucepan or stock pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through.

I serve mine with baked Tortilla chips cut into strips that I have baked on a cookie sheet (at 350) until lightly browned. Sprinkle on top of bowl of soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 TBS Olive Oil
1 Onion, chopped
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 1/4 Cups water
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup white hominy
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and pepper
1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
Crushed Tortilla chips
Cubed Avocado
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Sliced green onion

1 In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in
chili powder, cumin, tomatoes,oregano, broth and water. Bring to boil; simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in corn, hominy, chilies, beans and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes, adjusting salt and pepper to taste.Add cilantro just before serving.
3. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado cubes, cheese and green onion.

Hope you try one of these and let me know how you like it. That first one can't be beat if you're in a hurry or don't want to go to any trouble. Enjoy!

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