Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tex-Mex Style Chicken Soup

At the first iota of an inkling of colder weather, my kiddos (and admittedly the hubs and I) get our palates ready for one of our favorite cold-weather foods. We love soup!  Nothing warms the body nor the soul like a great bowl of hot soup.  Chicken soup, in particular, is one of my favorite things to cook for our family.  My recipe for this post, which incorporates the use of Hispanic seasonings, gives this chicken soup a decidedly Tex-Mex flavor.   

You will need: 

Chicken drumsticks, frozen or thawed
Cilantro (about 1/2 of a bunch)
One 8 ounce can of Rotelle tomatoes (I like lime cilantro or green chili flavor)
One whole garlic 
One small onion or half a large onion
Three large ears of corn
Two lemons
Four bell peppers of your choice. 
Approximately five medium-sized carrots 
Two stalks of celery
Caldo Pollo bullion
Celery Salt 
Begin by rinsing all of your vegetables.  Shuck corn, rinse.  Zest the lemons and discard skin (meaning peel, but minimally and not down to the flesh) .  IMPORTANT.  You must taste a small bit of lemon to ensure they are sour, and NOT bitter.  Bitter lemon can wreak havoc and ruin your whole dish.  Slice onion and peppers into large pieces or slivers.  Think fajita sized.  You may opt to hull your peppers and discard the inner flesh and seeds; if you prefer a spicer version, leave as is.  Slice garlic into thin slivers.  Divide lemons into quarters or six pieces each.  Remove as much seeds as possible.  Set lemon aside. Chop celery and remove any leaves. Discard the leaves.  Cut corn into pieces approximately two inches wide.  Set aside with other vegetables. Peel carrots, and slice into 1 inch sized peices. Reserve carrots. 

Years ago, a friend of ours Eric made a soup using whole drumsticks.  I had never seen it done before, but the soup was terrific. Every time I make this particular soup, I utilize that technique.  Fill a large stock pot with water.  Place all of the prepared vegetables (except carrots) and lemon pieces into the pot along with the drumsticks.  Using kitchen scissors, chop cilantro and add to the pot.  Add the canned tomatoes. Cook on medium to high heat.  Once you put your soup on, peel and chop your carrots.   As your soup cooks, add the Caldo bullion to your liking.  Add approximately one to two tablespoons of celery salt.   

Starting to become lovely, no?  I love the aroma of these flavors as they meld!

Continue cooking until the vegetables are cooked through.  You can gauge that by looking to see if the onion is transparent.  I am not a fan of raw celery, so I tend to use the celery as a gauge.  If the celery is cooked through, the other vegetables will certainly be.   Finally, add the chopped carrots. Carrots cook fairly quickly, so always add them last or they will be overcooked.  When the carrots are firm but you are able to pierce them with a fork or knife easily, your soup is ready to enjoy!

I prefer to serve this wonderful soup with a nice dollop of white or Spanish rice along with warm tortillas, tortilla chips, or both.

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