Let's move on, to yummy soup!! Now, I know some of you will see that chipotle pepper, and that jalapeno, and be afraid of the heat of this soup. I promise it isn't very hot!! And if you really really can't handle heat, then just skip the jalapeno altogether. It'll be fine :) (Oh, and if you like heat, add the whole jalapeno!)
1-1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
8-10 cups chicken broth
1 very large white onion, quartered
4 large cloves garlic
8-10 stems of fresh cilantro
1 can diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded)
half of a fresh jalapeno pepper
1 chipotle pepper
1 Tb adobo sauce, from chipotle peppers
1-2 cans black or pinto beans
1 can corn (optional)
cotija cheese (usually packed in a round, it is a crumbly, salty cheese that's a bit odd when eaten on it's own, but is essential for topping this soup!
crispy tortilla strips
In a large pot, pour 8 cups of chicken broth. Add the chicken, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and the cilantro. Bring to a boil, then lower to a bubbling simmer for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove the chicken, set on a plate to cool. Strain the broth, discard the onion, garlic, and cilantro, and save the broth.
In a blender or food processor, combine the other two onion quarters and garlic cloves, tomatoes, the chipotle pepper and adobo, and the jalapeno. *Notes: Chipotle peppers usually come in a small can, packed together with smoky adobo sauce. Do not use the whole can!! Pick out ONE pepper. You can freeze the rest for other things. Try and get at least a Tb of the adobo sauce out too. Also, don't be afraid of the jalapeno, as long as you remove the white insides where the seeds are, it really doesn't add much heat at all.
Pour the reserved broth into the tomato mixture (adding a few cups if necessary , and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. Taste, and add any additional salt. Add chicken, beans (drained or not, up to you!) and corn (if using). Heat through, and serve, with fresh lime quarters to squeeze over, tortilla strips, and crumbled cotija cheese.
This is The Geologist's favorite soup, and now the boys love it too!! I am always amazed at the deep, bright flavors. You would think raw onion and garlic would make it SO sharp, but it really mellows out! The cheese doesn't melt, but it softens and adds creamy-salty-ness. Yum.
The lime is essential. My lime is drowning... That tang is the perfect accent to those savory, just-warm-enough spices and tomatoes. We like ours simple, so we skip the tortilla strips and corn, but you could dress this up all kinds of ways! Top with sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, a spoonful of sour cream... however you like it!
It may not be fancy, but is delicious, and will warm you right down to your toes! We haven't met anyone yet who doesn't like it :)