Thursday, February 3, 2011

yuuuuummmmmm.... and other stuff

I'm such a dork. I just finished taking Charlie outside to do his business. My ensemble? A bulky sweatshirt that is at least 2 sizes too big, a pair of black capri pants, a brown ski jacket that I could barely zip because of the bulk of the sweatshirt, and my favorite cowboy boots. Oh, and my fancy sunglasses. Yes, sir. I went outside like that. But, in my defense, I'm in my "only at home" clothes. And Charlie REALLY had to go, so I didn't have time to change pants. May I say that I felt particularly awesome with yoga capri pants and cowboy boots? It was a sight to behold. I'm just glad that no one was around to capture all that awesome with a photo or a video camera. THANK GOODNESS.

On a side note: no wonder my neighbors rarely knock on my door. I'm sure they whisper to one another, "That's where the CRAZY lady lives!" My taking-Charlie-outdoors wardrobe gives them plenty of ammunition.

Okay, this is where I get to the real point of my post: soup. Now, I'm not talking about soup that is just "okay", or even soup that is "pretty good." I'm talking about soup that is so good and so easy that you'll wonder how on earth so few ingredients could yield so much totally kick butt awesome.

On another side note: I realize that the focus of this blog is not food. But, sometimes food makes me really happy, so it's totally fair game. And I want to make other people happy. And this soup WILL make a lot of other people happy. So, I'm sharing.

My first true food tutorial! YAY!

This recipe is adapted from Real Simple's Southwestern Chicken Soup recipe. I've switched it up a little, but the main idea stays the same.

Here are the ingredients:

Southwestern Chicken Soup

  • 1 jar salsa verde (the original recipe calls for 12 oz. jar, but I can only find 16 oz. jars.)

  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken (a rotisserie chicken is the perfect amount, or you could use chicken breasts.)

  • 2  15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed (twice as many beans as in the original)

  • 3-4 cups chicken broth (one of those boxes of stock is exactly 4 cups and is what I always use.)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (the original recipe says this is optional. it shouldn't be!)

  • 2-3 green onions, chopped up

  • sour cream (dolloped on top. light sour cream works really well, but I would avoid the fat free stuff)

  • tortilla chips (also listed in the recipe as optional, but TOTALLY mandatory if you ask me.)

  • First things first. Shred up the chicken. You can use breasts or any other kind of chicken you have around, but a rotisserie chicken is the perfect amount. See?

    The rest of this is basically a "dump" recipe. Pour in the salsa verde, the shredded chicken, cannellini beans, chicken broth, and cumin. It will look like this:

    Some notes about the ingredients:

    - The original recipe calls for 12 oz. of salsa verde. I use the entire 16 oz. jar. The only difference it makes is making the soup a little bit spicier... which we LOVE. Plus, we have a really small fridge, and I hate having 1/4 of a jar of salsa loitering in my fridge. So, feel free to do whatever you like here. I won't tell. :)

    - I double the cannellini beans in comparison to the original recipe. I actually *like* beans. Plus, I like the bean/chicken ratio better that way. Plus, they're cheap and help stretch this soup a little. Again, you can use only 1 can if you want.

    - Please don't leave out the cumin. Seriously. It is not at all the same soup without it. No. Really.

    - With the chicken broth, I just dump an entire box in (4 cups), making it a little "soupier." Again, this goes to saving a buck by buying the box (as opposed to the slightly more expensive cans) and then not having extra chicken stock loitering in my fridge.

    Cook this bad boy for about 20-25 minutes on medium heat at first, turning it down if the bubbling starts to get out of control. Stir it now and again to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of your pot. You'll know that it's ready when the shredded chicken starts to break down a little. Like this:

    Sorry this picture isn't "pretty", but it shows how the chicken will break down and look more... stringy? That sounds terrible in words, but you get the idea . Broken down = more tender. More tender = GOOD.

    Now, it's time for TOPPINGS! Add some crushed up tortilla chips/strips, a dollop of sour cream, and then some green onions on top. Unless you really hate green onions. Then, skip 'em. But, if you like onions, they make a big ol' difference.

    Happy in a bowl.

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