Thursday, November 27, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Mexican Chicken Soup

It is the 27th when this blog entry comes out but I actually made this one a few weeks ago.  I think most of the Barefoot Bloggers, at least the ones in the US, are probably going to be pretty busy on the 27th - I know I am.

While there are things I will use a canned or boxed broth with - or even some concentrate, soup is not one of those things.  I always try to keep some homemade broth in the freezer for cooking but it appears I just ran out.  That means I ended up starting this meal a few days early making some more chicken broth.  I won't bore you with that recipe - I made a pretty simple one with chicken parts and onions as the only main ingredients.  

I made about twice as much as I needed for the soup so I could freeze some.  I normally just freeze it in Ziploc bags but I had seen a hint somewhere that you should freeze it in ice cube trays so it is easier to get a small amount out.  This seemed like a good idea since I normally have to thaw out a whole bunch to get 1/2 cup of broth.  We just moved into a new house a few years ago and apparently my wife decided to de-clutter by getting rid of the ice trays - we didn't need them now that we had a new fridge with an ice maker.  After searching around a while she did manage to find something more me to use - check out the end result:
It works - there are two hearts in a quarter cup.

The soup was pretty good.  I did leave out a few things.  I left out the avocado - I knew my wife wouldn't eat it and I wasn't sure it would really add that much to the soup.  I also left out the jalapenos - I know that is probably a big thing to leave out of a Mexican soup but my wife does not like peppers at all - I just spiced my bowl up with some sriracha before I ate it.  I also used some fire roasted tomatoes which I think add a little flavor.  

The soup ended up being a pretty good chicken soup.  I was just coming down with a cold so it was just the right time for some homemade soup.  The one thing I would change is the tortillas.  I know they are there because it is a "Mexican" chicken soup but I think they end up being like a soggy noodle.  They didn't taste bad but the texture was not good at all in my opinion.  I think next time I will just forget it is Mexican and use egg noodles instead of the tortillas.

Thanks to Judy from Judy's Gross Eats (Not sure about the name - they don't seem gross) for this months recipe.

Mexican Chicken Soup
Serves 6 to 8

  • 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, preferably homemade
  • 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
  • For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Herb-Roasted Onions

I have been doing a lot of roasting lately so it was nice to see this recipe for roasted onions. I have never made roasted onions outside of a beef roast or something.

Most roast vegetables you just put oil and some seasonings on them and then roast them. For this recipe you make a vinaigrette and toss the onions in it. At the end of the recipe you pour the left-over vinaigrette over the cooked onions. Both Lara and I thought it had a little too much lemon flavor. I think next time I might try not putting the vinaigrette on at the end - or at least using a little less of it. Thanks to Kelly of Baking with the Boys for this months recipe pick.

Herb-Roasted Onions
(Source : Barefoot Contessa at Home)
Serves 3

  • 2 red onions
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.
  3. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.
  4. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Roasted Butternut

I've been on a little bit of a squash kick lately. I just can't resist when I see all the different types of squash in the supermarket. I love it just roasted but I figure I should broaden my horizon with a few different ways to cook it. I made my barefoot bloggers butternut squash risotto a week or two ago and I still had half a butternut squash left over. I combined it with half of another squash that I am not sure what it was ( looked sort of like a buttercup - but not exactly).

To make the soup you just roast the squash along with some shallots just like when making the risotto from two weeks back. It is not necessary but the squash might look a little nicer if you remove any real black leaves from the shallots when it is done roasting. When done roasting you just puree it in a blender and combine with the other ingredients on the stove.

The soup was terrific. It was sweet, creamy, and warm - nice for a cool fall night. After I cooked this I saw pretty much the same recipe in Cooking light except they used ginger instead of nutmeg and they left out the cream. That version is probably a little healthier but the 1/4 cup of heavy cream for 4 servings is not really going to make it that bad for you.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
(Source: Cooks Country Oct/Nov 2008)
Serves 4

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 450 degrees. Toss squash, shallots, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large bowl, then arrange in single layer in roasting pan. Roast, stirring occasionaly, until golden brown and softened, about 45 minutes. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to pan and scrape up any browned bits with wooden spoon. Return to oven and cook until liquid has reduced and vegatables are glazed, about 5 minutes.
  2. Working in 2 batches, puree squash mixture and remaining broth in blender until smooth. Transfer pureed squash mixture to large saucepan and stir in syrup, vinegar, nutmeg, and cream. Bring soup to simmer over medium-low heat, adding 1/4 cup water at a time as necessary to adjust consistency. Serve.