Because of my somewhat hectic work schedule, I don’t usually do a lot of elaborate cooking or meals during the week. I tend to gravitate towards things that are quick and easy, but by the time the weekend gets here, I like to cook a few things in large quantities so I know that we will have some leftovers to start our week.
With the rediculously cold winter we are experiencing, I have been looking for comfort food recipes. My family LOVES a hearty soup, so last weekend I decided to try one that has a little extra heat.
4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
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 stock
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
Toppings for serving
grated Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, 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 stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 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, and broken tortilla chips.
While looking through my Barefoot Contessa cookbook I also found a recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread and I thought it would go perfectly with this soup.
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, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers
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 scallions 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 and extra chopped scallions. 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.
We REALLY loved this meal! I did doctor up the soup a little bit by adding a can of black beans(drained and rinsed)and some frozen corn. I personally love both, but you could probably add any of your favorite veggies and it would taste great. Also, the one thing you will not want to skip in this dish is the homemade tortilla chips. They were so good that Nick asked me to make more so he could eat them as a snack. It is totally worth the extra couple of minutes to cut and pan fry them instead of buying premade tortilla chips from the store……in my opinion:)
Since this is super bowl weekend, I figured I would share this because it would be perfect to feed a crowd!! If by chance you are celebrating Chinese New Year instead, you might want to check out THESE recipes for your celebration!
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
(Happy Chinese New Year)