ok, how sexy is that bowl of soup?! like, really. c’mon now. you know you want to eat that delicious-looking bowl of soup!
ok, so I started tinkering with this recipe last winter, and I got really close to getting it just right, but then it got too warm for soup, so I had to put it on the back burner. haha, get it?!?!?! :p
now that it’s cold again, I decided to revive the project and I think it’s finally ready for the big leagues. funny thing is, this is the simplest version I’ve made and it turned out the best. go figure. clearly, this is a riff on chicken tortilla soup, which is usually thickened w fried corn tortillas. this one, however, is not. I found a way to paleo-ize the heck out of it! huzzah! keep in mind, that like most soups, this one tastes even better the next day! also, it’s great for brekky!
chicken NOT-tortilla soup [serves 6-8]
- 1 Tbsp duck fat, or clarified butter
- 1 med red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced, seed pod reserved
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, cut in half, seeds removed [or leave them in. up to you!]
- 1 28-oz can of whole plum tomatoes [look for as few additives as possible]
- 8 cups chicken stock [my bone broth recipe follows]
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs, skinless, on the bone
- half large head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
- juice of half a lime
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
ok, this one’s pretty easy. in a heavy-bottom pot, melt your duck fat. over med heat, sweat onion until translucent. add red and green bell peppers and cook until just starting to take on color. add jalapeño, garlic and chipotle. cook until garlic becomes fragrant- a min or so. add the liquid from the tomatoes, then carefully, squeeze each tomatoes into the pot to braek them up. add in your chicken stock, bay leaf, the jalapeño seed pod, and some salt and pepper. simmer for 20 min or so. taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. drop the temp to med-low or so, or until your soup stops simmering. add your chicken thighs.
cooking protein [or fruit] while fully submerged in liquid that is between 160-185 degrees is called poaching. the key is to not have any bubbles. if your poaching liquid is too hot, your protein will become tough! yuck!!
poach chicken until no longer pink- 20-30 min. pull it out of the pot and let it cool down on a plate. bring the temp of your soup back up to a simmer. add your cauliflower to the party and cook, covered, until it is tender- 3-4 minutes, depending on size. pull them out of the soup, and put them, along with a cup or so of soup, in your food processor. puree until fairly smooth. you’re looking for the consistency of slightly runny cauli-mash! add this back in to your soup pot and stir.
you’ll notice that your soup will start to thicken instantly. this happens for 2 reasons: 1)cauliflower is fairly starchy, and by pureeing it, you’ve allowed all of that starch to swim throughout your soup, and create a kind of slurry. also, 2)by adding a puree into a stock, you’ve added viscosity, which also makes it seem thicker. essentially, now you have all these little cauli bits floating about, making your soup thick and rich. oh yea!!!
almost done! shred the chicken off the bones and add back in to the pot. [save the bones for broth!!] taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. squeeze in the juice of half a lime. taste the difference?! God, I love adding acid to food. it wakes up all those yummy flavors! remove your jalapeño seedpod, the 2 chipotle halves, and your bay. garnish w a big ol’ dollop of guac for some added fatty Mexican goodness. enjoy!
for the chicken stock: a day or 2 before your make your soup, add a lb or so of chicken bones [I save mine from previous meals], a diced carrot, a diced onion, a rib or 2 of diced celery, a few parsley stems, a bay leaf, and 6 or so black pepper corns to your crackpot [aka, crockpot]. cover with water [in my crackpot, this is about 8 cups of water]. cook it on low for 8-10 hours. strain and refrigerate overnight. when cool, it should be almost jelly-like. this is because the collagen in the bones breaks down to form gelatin. this is what gives stock body. skim off the excess fat from the top and discard. not because fat is bad, but because you don’t want to eat a greasy soup later. it’ll make your soup look like an oil slick. and that, my friends, does not make for a sexy bowl of soup!