I think that pretty much every mom in the world knows that chicken soup will cure anything. (OK, obviously it won’t, but go along with me on this, OK?) Ever mother I know has a chicken soup recipe that gets whipped out at the first sign of a sniffle. My grandmothers did; my mom did; every mom on the block had her own. My sisters, my (ex-)wife, and almost every girlfriend I’ve ever known. And since I’m a man in the kitchen, it seemed pretty important to have my own.
I have a basic chicken soup recipe I put up yesterday, and I have a few more that will show up later. Today, however, I’m going South of the Border again for a Mexican take on a Comfort Food basic. This is a great recipe for those times when you want the comfort and medicinal benefit of chicken soup, but want a little extra kick to it. And believe me, this recipe kicks! Add an extra jalapeno or two and it will kick like Chuck Norris!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white or red onion (chopped)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
6 garlic cloves
1 lb. chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
6 cups chicken broth
2 cans (14 oz.) roasted tomatoes
1-1/2 cups angel hair pasta
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh cilantro
Heat a very large soup pot over medium heat; add olive oil and heat until it shimmers.
Chop onion, celery and carrots into approximately equal-sized pieces. Add them all to the put and cook until onions are translucent – about 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes, chicken broth and chicken breasts and bring to a boil.
When chicken is cooked, remove from pot and set aside to cool enough to handle. When it has cooled, shred into bite-sized pieces.
Return chicken to pot, and add the spices along with the juice of two limes.
Slice jalapenos and add to pot. For a milder soup, use just one jalapeno.
Reduce heat and simmer so everything gets to know each other and get happy. At the very least, let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
About five minutes before you’re ready to serve, break angel hair into thirds and add to pot. Let it cook for about five more minutes, or until angel hair is al dente (not mushy).
Serve to bowls, then top with fresh cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges.
This recipe makes enough soup for up to six normal people, or four guys with big appetites. If you’re going to have leftovers, I suggest you cook the noodles separately. Place a small amount of noodles in each bowl then top with soup. Save the leftover noodles separately from the soup so the noodles don’t soak up so much broth that they turn to mush.
While the recipe calls for angel hair, I actually use bow-tie pasta most of the time. Two reasons: first, I think it looks better in the bowl, and second, they seem to hold up better as leftovers, not turning to mush at a sideways glance.
One of the reasons I like to make this when I’m under the weather is there are some beneficial things in it, in addition to the chicken. Cilantro, garlic and capsaicin (the compound that makes peppers hot) are all great for you.
Next time you’re feeling sick, try this one out and see if it doesn’t make you feel better. And even though you’re not at your best, remember to…
Play with your food!
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