I was thinking about chicken soup the other day. People really love chicken soup. The soup aisle in the grocery store is stacked with every kind of chicken soup imaginable. People go to certain restaurants just to get their famous chicken soup. Most of the time, we make our own.
What’s the hardest thing about making chicken soup? It’s not the chopping of the vegetables. I always start with onion and celery. I just chop them up into a pot with a little bit of olive oil. When they’re looking cooked, I add the chicken. And I must confess that I don’t always defrost the chicken first. Frozen chicken thighs (skinless/boneless) are my favorite, but I’ll use breasts if that’s what is left in the freezer. Just a little water in the pot, put on the lid and the chicken will cook through. Then I chop it up.
Once the chicken is cooked and chopped with the celery and onion, I add some chicken broth. The boxed kind with no MSG is my go-to chicken broth…but I’ll use the canned kind too. Just make sure there’s no MSG….and low sodium is a good idea too. This is where the chicken soup gets its personality. If I’m making Southwest Chicken Soup, I’ll add a can of corn…either creamed corn or whole kernel corn….or frozen corn. I’m not picky when it comes to the corn. And beans. Whichever canned beans that are in the pantry are fine with me…white beans, black beans or any color of bean. Drain them first. But don’t use refried beans, okay? And don’t forget the carrots. No self-respecting chicken soup should be without carrots.
No, it’s not hard to make the chicken soup…the hard part is to season it perfectly. If you’re making Southwest Chicken Soup, you want the seasoning to be a little bit spicy but not too much. And no heavy chili taste either. So this is what I found out last week: Buy a package of already-marinated Pollo Asada (Mexican chicken for grilling) to use instead of plain chicken! Costco has it, major grocery stores have it, and even the local butcher shops have it! (We go to T & H Meats in San Marcos, CA)
If you use marinated/seasoned chicken in the soup, you won’t have to worry about seasoning it at all! Duh. It’s not rocket science. But I never thought of doing Southwest Chicken Soup that way before! And it works like a charm. You can call it Tortilla Soup if you want. Or Fiesta Soup.
Call it what you want, but be sure to serve it with California avocado slices on top! We happened to have some Bacon variety avocados in the kitchen, so that’s what I used. They’re larger than a Fuerte, with a thinner skin, and the flavor isn’t as strong as a Fuerte or Hass avocado. Very delicate. Perfect with soup. Oh, by the way, garnish with fresh cilantro and green onions if you have some. It’ll taste even better.
How do you make your chicken soup? I’d love to hear about yours! Leave me a comment with your special chicken soup ingredients!