It’s been quiet around here, I know. But behind the scenes life has been happening and it’s all taken place outside of my kitchen. There’s been no time to stand still or to get lost in routine which, for me, means having a regular cooking schedule and the time to photograph the dishes so I can share them here with you. Instead, my husband and I have happily entertained dear friends from Chicago, Salt Lake City and Tucson–all in the last couple of weeks. They’ve been whirlwind visits, one set of friends arriving immediately after the departure of the previous. It’s been fun to catch up with all of them though the time spent reminiscing about old memories and creating new ones was not enough. We spent a couple days in Healdsburg for a bit of wine tasting and great eats then returned to Napa Valley again the following weekend for more with my best friend. We even managed a beautiful day at the beach and some nights we just sat around the kitchen table over wine and small bites–through it all my camera took a break (I did share highlights on Instagram).
Today I’m spending my first quiet afternoon since all the excitement started a few weeks ago. Silence and solitude are almost strangers to me but I welcome their return…along with not having a full agenda. The oven is back at work on a cake I’ve been meaning to bake all summer. Maybe it will even turn out to be fit for company though our friends I’d love to share a slice with are now such a distance away. Today, life has returned to its normal pace though I’ll admit that I’m missing the rush from the last couple of weeks.
I cooked a pot of soup recently. It was an attempt to revamp left over grilled chipotle-marinated chicken breasts (our go-to dish of late served with salad) but mainly to have a taste of the familiar after weeks spent eating mostly at restaurants. This Chicken Tortilla Soup has been with me for years. In fact, it’s one of the first recipes I’ve ever shared on the blog but no one, save for a handful of friends and my mother, read this blog so it’s been sadly lost in the archives. I thought I’d bring it back with better images than I could manage 3 1/2 years ago. It’s fall; the cooler temperatures have me craving soups. Maybe you are, too?
This recipe comes together very quickly, especially if you already have cooked chicken available. It’s also flexible, allowing you to highlight your favorite ingredients. I like the clean, fresh qualities that corn and Anaheim chiles impart to this soup so I recommend that you don’t skip them. Otherwise, feel free to improvise. Make this bowl of comfort your own and just use my recipe as a guide.
- 1 32-oz container chicken broth
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
- 3 Anaheim chiles, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
- ½ onion, diced
- 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
- 1-2 tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin (or to taste)
- Few pinches freshly ground black pepper
- kosher salt, to taste
- olive oil for sauteing
- 1 15-oz can corn (whole kernels)
- 1 15-oz can black beans
- For the garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, crushed tortilla chips, sour cream
- Using a large pot, sauté the onions in a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat until translucent, about 2 minutes. Next, add the fresh tomatoes, jalapeno and anaheim chiles. After a couple of minutes, add the chili powder, cumin and pepper and salt and cook for about a minute to release the flavors of the spices. Add the canned tomatoes, the stock and minced cilantro. Bring this to a boil then turn the heat down to let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Finally, add the corn, black beans and chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Ladle in individual bowls and top with your favorite garnish.