While I am VERY well aware that temperatures are soaring in most parts of the US right now (it's been in the 100s everyday for about 3 weeks here), when I discovered this recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup, I just HAD to make it.
Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa, made these two recipes on her show recently. Her original recipes can be found here and here on Food Network. Typical me, I had to change the recipe around a bit because, well, simply because I can!! LOL!!
Here's my version...
Mexican Chicken Soup
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
12(6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas*
For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, fresh chopped cilantro and tortilla chips
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt , 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, extra fresh cilantro and broken tortilla chips.
*the corn tortillas dissolve in the soup and is a thickener for the soup.
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melteds, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/2 white onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the onion and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 12 large pieces