Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Hello! Welcome to the inaugural post at The Cutthroat Culinarian.

By the way, lots of love to Squarer Pegs, Rounder Holes for the name suggestion.

And to my friend Marty for making me feel my food is good enough to share.

Most of you know me as Rachel from The Rachel Chronicles: The True and (Un)Amazing Adventures of a Girl and Her Dog.  And you're probably wondering why in the world I'm starting another blog when I barely post on the one I already have.

Good question.

And I don't really have a good answer.  Other than, because I can?  Because I love food?  Because I have an overinflated sense of self and believe people want to read what I write?

Take your pick.

Don't let this blog fool you though.  I am not exactly what you would call a "great" cook.  Far from it, actually.

If I stick to food I grew up eating, I do okay.  But a girl has to spread her wings and fly.  You know?  There's a great big world of food out there.  And I want to eat my way through it.

However, as I will never be able to visit all the places I see featured on The Cooking Channel and The Food Network (even though I do keep a list of "Must Eat Places" on my phone), I have to learn to make some of these things myself.

And I'm getting better.  It used to be when I made dinner, there was a 50/50 chance it would be edible. Now I'm probably up to 70/30 in favor of edible. (My boyfriend may disagree with my figures... but he'd never say it to my face.)

And while I may not be a great cook, I AM a great baker.  If I do say so myself.

So this blog will be a hodgepodge chronicling my kitchen journeys.  The good.  The bad.  The OMG open the windows and take the batteries out of the smoke alarm.

Trying out my own creations.  Trying out other people's creations.  What worked.  What didn't.  Dinners.  Desserts.  Snacks.  Tips.  Tricks.  Healthy.  Sinfully delicious and decidedly unhealthy.  The herbivore friendly.  The omnivore friendly.

We'll have it all.

And the plan is to get some guest bloggers in here to share their own kitchen adventures.

To start it all off, I'm featuring one of the few non-dessert related recipes people ask me for quite often.  You see, one night a few months ago, I had a craving for chicken tortilla soup.

Which was weird because up to that point, I had never even eaten chicken tortilla soup....

And I had no idea where I could obtain such a thing in my not so bustling metropolis.

The only option was to make it myself.  And it needed to be quick and easy.  After my day job, I spend two hours a day at the gym, then home to walk the monster dog.  So dinners have to be quick to make.  Otherwise, I'm eating a sandwich.  So I started with my friend Shannon's chili recipe (I'm hoping she'll be one of my guests...) and adapted it for my purposes.

Here's what you will need:
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1- 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
2-3 1/2 cups chicken stock/broth
1 can kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can black beans
1 bag frozen sweet corn
packet McCormicks Mild chili seasoning
Adobo sauce
chili powder
garlic powder
brown sugar
shredded cheddar cheese
tortilla chips

Add crushed tomatoes and chicken broth (2 c. for more stew like, 3 1/2 c. for soupier) to a 6 qt Dutch oven (or pot) on medium heat.  Add half the packet of chili seasoning, 2 t. of chili powder,  1 t. garlic powder, 1 t. adobo sauce, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.  Rinse and drain all beans, add to Dutch oven.  Stir in frozen corn and shredded chicken.  Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Once soup begins to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  After it has a chance to cook for a little while, taste it and add more of whatever spices you'd like.

Serve topped with shredded cheese (sour cream would be good, too) and tortilla chips.

Tips & Tricks:
The Dutch oven is, in my humble opinion, the best kitchen invention EVER.  If you do not have one, you should consider investing in one.  I use mine all the time.  Seriously.  I have a Lodge Dutch oven.  And many of my recipes will utilize a Dutch oven, but obviously you can substitute with a pot (or even a crockpot) or casserole dish much of the time.

Because I'm often struck by odd cravings, I rarely plan ahead for meals.  The beauty of this soup is, I can use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store instead of taking the time to cook chicken for my soup.  Rotisserie chicken is one of my favorite grocery store tips.  They range from $6.50-$7.50.  It can be a meal in itself.  Or you can pick the chicken apart for use in recipes, then use the carcass to make your own chicken stock (more on that later).  It's a pretty good deal.

As I've said, my hard and fast rule is that recipes need to be quick and easy.  I want good food, but I don't have a lot of time to make it.  Therefore, a lot of my recipes will contain easy and convenient ingredients.  If you can substitute ingredients for a "cleaner" recipe, please do and share your own tips.  For example, if you have a garden (and the stupid deer don't eat it all), you can can your own tomatoes for use in recipes.  Also, there are several websites that provide recipes for your own seasoning mixes so you can skip the store bought.  I just haven't had a chance to stock up on my own, but hopefully soon, I'll have time to mix some up.

I have out of control acid reflux that often makes my throat burn hotter than the fires of Mount Doom.  So you'll very rarely find me posting a recipe for spicy foods.  The beauty of this recipe is it's very easily adaptable.  If you want it spicier, instead of using just adobo sauce, opt for chiles in adobo sauce and dice up one of the chiles and toss it in the pot, too.  This is a basic soup you can tailor to your own tastes.  Have fun with it.

Also, if you use less chicken broth for a thicker stew, this makes a good "dip" to use as an appetizer or at a party.  And as with any soup, the flavor is better on day 2.

This blog is a work in progress.  I would say most of the early posts will not have pictures because they're things I've made in the past, and I'm just posting from memory.  As I make them again in the future, I'll go back and add in pictures.  I'll also attempt to figure out how to add in those handy dandy recipe cards you can just print off.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share.

Thanks for visiting.  Happy eating.

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