Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Cold, cold day today, and I spent several hours outside at the barn this afternoon. Soup was definitely a good choice to help me warm up when I got home.

Ingredients

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp Tastefully Simple Wahoo! chili seasoning
1 jalapeno
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo + about 2tsp of the sauce
28oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups frozen corn
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup masa harina
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Monterey jack cheese
Tortilla strips (store bought or homemade)
Salt

Instructions

Dice onion and jalapeño (after removing seeds). Mince garlic. Rough chop chili. Don’t worry too much about having perfect knife skills because you’re just going to puree it all later.

Boil chicken breasts in a medium pot. Salt the water! Set the chicken aside when finished.

Melt butter in a dutch oven (or other large pot) over medium heat. Cook onions, jalapeño, garlic, & chipotle+sauce until the onions are translucent.

Add tomatoes and chili seasoning. Cook for a few minutes, then add chicken stock.

Use an immersion blender to puree everything in the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Just be careful because hot/steamy stuff + blenders aren’t always a good combo.

Add the masa harina. Use the immersion blender to get rid of any chunks that form. This is a good time to taste it and add salt. Don’t worry if you think it’s too spicy right now. The cream will take care of that later. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Add the corn. (Get the tortilla strips in the oven now if you’re making them)

Pull or shred the chicken. I use the stand mixer for this. Toss the chicken in and use the beater on speed 2 for about 30-45 seconds. I always cover it with a towel because sometimes pieces like to fly out. You can also pull it with a fork instead.

Add the chicken to the soup. Stir in the heavy cream. Taste again, and add more salt if needed. Let it cook on low for about 10 more minutes.

Serve and garnish with the cheese and tortilla strips.

Tortilla Strips

Use a pizza cutter to cut tortillas into strips. I cut small tortillas into quarters, then cut into strips. You have two options – fry until golden, or bake. I baked these since they were going in soup. Coat in olive oil, season with salt. Line up the strips on a baking sheet and bake on 350 until golden.

Red Wine Onion Soup

fullsizeoutput_bd1Whenever I eat a dish I love at a restaurant, I love the challenge of trying to make it home. There’s a local restaurant near us that has this amazing red wine onion soup. This soup is so good that my wife, who used to be a french onion soup hater, orders it every time we go to this place. So naturally I needed to try to replicate it. I got close to the real deal. I want to try it with a higher ratio of wine to beef stock, but I haven’t had a chance yet.

Ingredients
1 large vidalia onion, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1 bottle red wine
3 cups beef stock
4 tsp worcestershire
3 tbsp Maggi liquid seasoning (This can be hard to find. Just use a little more Worcestershire if you can’t find it.)
¾ tsp thyme, or 4 sprigs fresh
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt
Stale French bread
Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
Asiago cheese, thinly sliced

Makes 4-6+ servings, depending on the size of your soup crocks.

Instructions

Heat butter in dutch oven. Add garlic, onions, & thyme. Add some salt (cuple of pinches). Cover to cook, stir occasionally. Cook until onions are soft. When the onions are soft, uncover and cook until golden.

Deglaze with wine. After you’ve deglazed, just pour the rest in. Add beef stock, more salt, bay leaves, worcestershire, and Maggi.

Bring to boil. Reduce and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste a few times and salt until it tates salty enough.

Preheat broiler.

Cut bread into cubes. Put 4 cubes into each bowl (or more, depending on size of soup crocks. I used Le Creuset mini cocottes. The bread in these filled about 1/2 of each.)

Ladle soup into bowls. Let the bread absorb broth for a few seconds and add more soup if needed.

Top with alternating layers of gruyere and asiago. (2 layers of each)

Place the bowls onto a sheet pan. Broil until it’s melty and a little golden.

Snow Day Chili-Stew

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We had a blizzard last year, and I wanted to make something warm for us to eat while taking breaks from shoveling feet of snow. I’ll be making this again for sure during the next mega-snow! I call it a chili-stew because it has some elements of a chili and other elements of a stew. I didn’t think it was “chili” enough to just call it a chili.

Ingredients

1 to 1 ½ lb sirloin
¼ package red kidney beans
1 jalapeño 
2 poblano peppers
4 tomatillos
4 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
¼ cup masa harina
Olive oil
About ½ cup fresh or frozen corn
2 cups beef stock
½ bottle beer
Worcestershire sauce
Maggi liquid seasoning (This can be hard to find. If you can’t, just add a little more Worcestershire)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, roughly chopped
¼ cup apple juice
Cumin
Chili powder
Cayenne

Instead of the cumin, cayenne, and chili powder, you can also use Tastefully Simple Wahoo! Chili seasoning.

Instructions 

Prep kidney beans according to package instructions. This takes about an hour for the non-overnight method. Drain and rinse when done.

While beans are soaking, roast poblanos and jalapeño. Turn on broiler. Coat peppers in olive oil. Roast until charred, about 10 minutes. You can also roast them on a gas burner, but we don’t have a gas range in our new house (sad face).

Dice onion and mince garlic. Set aside (together). Remove husks from tomatillos and roughly chop. Cut off tops of poblanos and jalapeño and roughly chop. Roughly chop 2 chipotles. Set aside tomatillos, poblanos, jalapeño, and chipotles together.

Trim sirloin and cut into small pieces, about the size of your thumb above the knuckle.

Heat approx. 3 tbsp olive oil in dutch oven on med-high. Add sirloin with salt & pepper. Cook until brown. Add masa harina, stir, and toast for 1 minute. If it gets too dry, add more olive oil. It should be a dry-ish paste, not really wet, and but not super dry. Add garlic and onion, cook a few minutes.

Deglaze with beer.

Add beef stock, peppers, and tomatillos. Stir. Salt liberally. Add about 5-8 dashes Worcestershire and 10-15 dashes maggi. Add about 1 tsp each chili powder and cumin. Add about ½ tsp cayenne. (Measurements are approximate. Adjust to taste as it cooks). Add beans and corn.

8. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 2 to 2 ½ hours. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot about every 30 minutes. Taste each time and adjust seasoning to taste. Add apple juice in the last 30 minutes (optional, to cut down the level of spicy).

Troubleshooting 

Too spicy? Add some apple juice. Don’t have apps juice? Toss a peeled potato into the bottom of the pot to absorb some of the spice. Don’t have that either? Add some sugar.

Not spicy enough? Add cayenne or some juice from the chipotle peppers.

Not flavorful enough? Add more cumin, cayenne, & chili powder.

Doesn’t taste brown enough? (Yeah, this is a thing) Add more Worcestershire and/or Maggi.