I read somewhere that Thomas Keller once said that every one should learn how to prepare and cook at least one good soup. I couldn’t agree with him more, after all he is a world respected chef, author, TV personality and astrologer. But deep down, I really think you should know how to make at least two good soups. And one of those soups should be of Asian origin , like Tom Young Guy. The other soup in your repertoire should be so good that you could proudly serve it at a soup kitchen or a super bowl party.
With that said, the recipe that follows is neither Asian-inspired or one that I would serve at super bowl party. But it is one good soup. And it so good that it will take you at least two days to make. Yes, two days. You can fast track it and do it one day, but you will spend a lot of time recovering from the massive headache you will certainly obtain from the hangover you induced by drinking wine and beer all day whilst making the soup. So, take my advice on this, my one proud-to-serve-at-soup-kitchens soup recipe, and space it out over two days. Now, we all know the saying that all good things take time. Well this golden rule applies to this soup, only that the soup is not good. It is Epic.
I would like to thank Carol for introducing me to this recipe and passing on her tips for making it really special. I haven’t used any of them, but I appreciate it, thanks Carol.
And now, Mexican sopa lovers, grab your spoons and have your grins at the ready…
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 2 cups carrot, sliced
- 2 cups zucchini, sliced
- 2 cups green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels
- 10-11 cups chicken stock
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup canned roasted green chilis
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
- One 3-4 pound chicken, preferably organic, cut up into eight pieces
- Two large carrots, sliced
- 1 large onion, quartered and studded with just a few cloves
- 2-3 ribs of celery sliced
- 1 head of garlic sliced lengthwise, broken into their pieces
- 1 jalapeño, sliced lengthwise
- 1 dried bay leave
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, whole
- 4 springs thyme
- 4 sprigs parsley
- Monterey jack cheese, shredded
- Tortilla chips
- Lime wedges
- Sour cream
- Preheat your oven to 425°.
- In a large heavy bottomed roasting pan, place the chicken pieces, onion, celery, and garlic and generously coat the vegetables and chicken with olive oil. Roast for about 75 minutes. At the 50-minute mark you might want to check on it and turn it once.
- Transfer the chicken and vegetables from the roasting pan to a large stockpot. Don’t be concerned if the chicken is not fully cooked at this stage. Add the bay leave, thyme, parsley, peppercorns and 10 cups of water. Crank the heat all the way to 11.
- As the stock begins to heat, add two cups of water to the roasting pan and deglaze over a low-medium heat. Add the liquid to the stockpot.
- As the stock just begins to boil, lower the heat significantly to a slow simmer and move the pot from the center of the burner to the edge. This will help the stock circulate in the pot without having to stir it. Cover the pot with a lid, leaving it slightly ajar.
- Refill your coffee now or pour yourself a glass of wine at this stage and return in 60 minutes.
- Remove only the chicken pieces from the stockpot. When cool enough to the touch, remove the chicken from the bones, and return everything (skin, bones and cartilage) else back to the stockpot.
- Shred the chicken using your fingers or forks and place in the fridge.
- Let the stock simmer for at least another two hours. You can keep it simmering longer but check to see how much of it is evaporating. Three hours is plenty of time, but you can develop it longer.
- Remove everything from the stock except the stock itself. This can be done in two ways. You can drain it into another stockpot using a colander, or you can use a spider to remove the bones and vegetables. Either way, you will have to go through the process of straining it at least three times moving between fine mesh strainers and cheesecloth. When you think the stock is clear enough, you can de-fat it by skimming a ladle across the top of the stock or you can refrigerate it overnight. The later method will allow the fat to form a skin atop of the stock making the de-fating process really easy.
- Now you have a delicious stock. It should be thick and dark. It is not seasoned so don’t worry if it tastes a little flat. It should smell and taste like chicken soup. It should yield at least 10 cups.
Onto the soup…
- Combine all of the dry seasoning, mix and set aside.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a stockpot. Add a third of the onion, garlic and seasoning mix and sweat. After 7 minutes, add another third of the onions, garlic and seasoning mix and cook for another 7 minutes while stirring. Add the remaining onion, garlic and seasoning mix and cook for 7 minutes.
- Add the carrots and bell pepper and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the canned tomatoes, chicken stock and tomato sauce and stir. Cook for about 20 minutes.
- Add the corn, shredded chicken, zucchini, black olives, green chiles and stir to combine. Cook for another 25 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the lime juice and stir.
- You should have a huge pot of soup and your house should smell like a chicken tortilla sopa-ria.
- To serve, ladle about 1 cup of soup into a warm bowl, sprinkle with cilantro sprigs, cheese, crushed corn chips, a dollop of sour cream (if desired) and a healthy squeeze of lime juice.
Suggested pairings: I would add hot sauce to give it a little more heat, and I would wear something with an elastic waist band.