Friday, October 23, 2009

Recipe Spotlight: Chicken Tortilla Soup and Jalapeno Corn Bread

Last night I was in the mood to make something NEW. I tend to stick to a repertoire of Italian food, but I think it's important to try new foods and flavors. So I decided to make Mexican food, but not the typical burrito/taco ho hum. I went for a brand new recipe and made chicken tortilla soup with chipotle peppers and fire roasted tomatoes. Along with it I made the easiest jalapeno corn bread ever, and the sweet and spicy combo was divine- especially when dipped and crumbled into the spicy soup. The meal was different, as I had hoped, and made for some great leftovers. Make a big batch to keep on hand for several days- the flavors only get better as they rest!

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Chipotle Peppers and Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Gooey cheese, crunchy chips, and spicy soup make this meal a belly warming pleaser!
Serves 4

3 cups chicken stock
1 pound chicken tenders (or breasts cut into strips)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
4 slices thick, smoky center cut bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons sauce
1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
4 cups lightly crushed corn tortilla chips
2 cups shredded fresh smoked mozzarella (3/4 lb)
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, chopped
Freshly chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

Bring broth to a simmer and add chicken tenders, poach 6 to 7 minutes with a bay leaf.

While chicken poaches, heat extra-virgin olive oil in a medium soup pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp then remove with slotted spoon. Drain off excess fat, leaving 2 to 3 tablespoons in the pan. Add onions and garlic to the skillet and cook 5 minutes then stir in chipotles and tomatoes.

Remove chicken from stock, dice and then add to soup. Pass stock through a strainer then add to the soup.
Place a pile of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each soup bowl. Cover liberally with smoked cheese then ladle the hot soup down over the top. Serve with lime, raw onions, extra cheese, tortilla chips and cilantro at table to finish the soup.

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray,

Jalapeno Corn Bread
Sweet, crumbly corn bread with spicy jalapenos is a perfect accompaniment to the soup!

Serves 4-6

2 boxes Jiffy corn bread mix
2 eggs
2/3 c. milk
1/2 can chopped jalapenos

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare corn bread according to package instructions. Once batter is formed stir in chopped jalapenos (use more if you like it extra spicy, or less if you just want a touch of heat). Bake 15-20 minutes until corn bread is lightly browned. Let rest before removing from pan.

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