Friday, January 28, 2011

Five Dollar Friday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Last Friday I shared how I make Chicken Noodle Soup and a homemade stock in the process. This week's recipe is just a yummy step or two off that initial recipe. Everyone loves their tortilla soup a different way. Mine is a simple soup that allows the flavor of the yummy homemade stock to shine. You can add a can of black beans and some organic frozen corn if you want a soup with more to fill it out. A dollop of sour cream on top just before serving is yummy, too. I am also re-posting the steps involved in making a stock just so readers don't have to go between two posts.


4 lb chicken
3 lg garlic cloves, smashed with flat side of knife (no need to peel)
4 celery stalks, cut into chunks
4-5 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
10-12 peppercorns
1 lg onion (I prefer sweet), peeled and quartered
Bunch of fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 T salt (start with 1 T and check flavoring to be sure it's not too salty for your taste, you can add more when you add bones to stock).
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I use a store brand of Rotel but the mild version)
8 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
1 bag tortilla chips
2 limes cut into wedges
2 avocados

1. Remove any extra pieces from cavity and rinse chicken well with cool water.
2. Place in large stock pot with all vegetables and seasonings.
3. Add cool water to cover chicken by an inch.
4. Turn pot to medium until you see a bubbles rising to the top. Then turn pot to med-low/low (see notes below).
5. Skim any impurities that rise to the surface during cooking.
6. Cook for 90 minutes to 2 hrs until chicken is cooked through and extremely tender. If you try to pull the chicken by the legs they will just fall off!
7. Remove chicken and allow to cool. Remove meat from bones and cut into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle a little olive oil over chicken along with a little stock from the pot to keep moist.
8. Add bones back into broth and simmer for another 30-60 minutes. Add more salt at this point if needed.
9. Strain broth to remove all veggies, spices and bones. Rinse out stock pot.
10. Place broth back into pot. If time allows place in fridge for a few hours or overnight and fat will rise to the top and solidify making it very easy to remove. If not, just let broth sit for a time and you will be able to skim most the fat that rises to the top.
11. Add canned tomatoes w/ green chilies reserving most of the juice. Add juice if desired.
12. Add chicken and warm pot if necessary before serving.

To serve soup, crush tortilla chips in bottom of bowl and sprinkle with cheese. Add soup and squeeze lime juice over all. Add chopped avocados on top of bowl and serve.

Cost Breakdown: $8.58 (enough for a dinner plus lunch the next day for the boys and me - and leftover stock to freeze)
$ 2.00 - chicken (on sale for $.48 a lb)
$ . 12 - garlic cloves
$ . 50 - celery stalks (I got organic for this price)
$ . 50 - carrots (again, organic)
$ . 01 - peppercorns
$ . 50 - lg onion
$ .50 - fresh parsley - about half a bunch (less $ if you use dried)
$ . 04 - dried thyme
$ . 03 - bay leaves
$ . 08 - sea salt
$ .50 - store-brand Rotel tomatoes
$1.50 - Monterrey Jack cheese
$1.00 - tortilla chips
$ . 30 - limes
$1.00 - avocados


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