Chicken Posole

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Yesterday was a cool rainy spring day that made me want to cook something that warms the soul. This is written as a vegetarian recipe (if using vegetable broth). I wanted it to feel more like a full meal so I bought a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods and added the shredded chicken breast. I saved the rest of the chicken for chicken, black bean, and cotija cheese quesadillas that we ate with the soup.

Honestly, I made the quesadillas thinking that there was no way my kids would eat the posole. But they LOVED it. I used 1 and a half jalapeños instead of two whole ones to bring down the spice factor for the kids.

We have eaten this soup in it’s original vegetarian form and then of course this way with chicken. Either way it’s amazing! Our favorite toppings are avocado, green onions, cilantro, and radishes – but you could add sour cream, greek yogurt, cotija cheese, and/or tortilla strips. Enjoy!

Chicken Posole
Serves 6

Ingredients:

6 tomatillos, papery skin and stems discarded, roughly chopped
1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 jalapeños, seeds removed (unless you want it really spicy) and roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock (stock will give a richer flavor, but broth will be fine as well)
3 large springs of cilantro
1 28-ounce can hominy, drained and rinsed

For the garnish:

  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • Small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 radishes thinly sliced
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. On a sheet pan or in a large baking dish toss the tomatillos, onions, and jalapeños with the olive oil to coat, and add a large pinch of salt. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, stirring a few times, until they’re soft and a little browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (I didn’t wait for it to cool and just made sure to put a kitchen towel over the top of the blender to make sure there were no “explosions” from the hot liquid)
  3. Transfer the vegetables to a blender with 1 cup of the stock and puree until completely smooth.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large pot or dutch oven, along with the rest of the stock, cilantro, and hominy. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
  5. Add shredded chicken and continue to cook for 5 minutes to allow chicken to heat up.
  6. Season the soup to taste with sea salt.
  7. Add garnish of choice.

Spicy Arugula Pesto

Arugula pesto has become my favorite pesto. Something about the pepperiness of it (vs. the sweetness of the typical basil pesto). We decided to jazz it up a little by adding a bit of fresh red chili pepper. We added just enough that it gave a slight kick. We really enjoyed it and will definitely be making this again.

We mixed some of the pesto with some pasta and then topped sliced grilled chicken with the remainder of the pesto. Keep in mind, this is not a classic pesto recipe (in terms of the proportions).

Ingredients:

5 cups (give or take) of arugula

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

3/4 – 1 cup olive oil

1/2 red chili pepper (roughly chopped and seeded)

1 cup grated fresh parmigiano-reggiano (don’t use the powdered Kraft stuff)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound pasta (your choice)

2 grilled chicken breasts (boneless)

Directions:

Put water on to boil for the pasta. Heat grill (or grill pan) for chicken breasts. Season breasts with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside. Once the water boils, salt the water and add the pasta. Place chicken on grill when heated up. Grill chicken for about 6-8 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Put arugula, garlic, pine nuts, parmigiano cheese, and red chili pepper along with pinch of salt and pepper into the a food processor. Once blended, slowly add olive oil through the top until the pesto becomes smooth and loose.  Taste and add salt if you think it needs it. If you like yours spicier, add the more chili pepper.

Once the pasta is done, reserve about 1/2 a cup of pasta water and then drain. Pour pasta back into pot and mix with about half of the pesto. If it’s too thick, add a little pasta water. Slice the chicken once it has rested. Plate pasta on each plate/bowl and place chicken on top of pasta. Top chicken with some of the pesto….then eat and enjoy!

Chicken and Chive Dumpling Soup

This soup originated as a recipe that saw in a Shape magazine. Over the years I’ve made changes to it in order to add more flavor. Here is my version of this soup. It has become one of my favorite soups. There is nothing like enjoying a bowl of this soup when the weather is cold outside. This is a meal in itself.

Ingredients

  • 2 t olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 clv garlic, minced
  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T fresh chopped thyme (or 1t dried thyme)
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1 t chopped fresh sage (or 1/4 t dried sage)
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley

Dumplings

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 T unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (lowfat/nonfat/full fat – whatever you have)
  • 2 T chopped fresh chives
  • tiny pinch of salt

Directions

Heat oil in a large stock pot (with a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Add chicken and a couple of pinches of salt. Brown the chicken for about 5 minutes and then remove from the pan.
Add onion, bell pepper, carrots, and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute 2 minutes (add a little oil here if needed). Add the garlic and sautee for about 30 seconds. Add chicken back in along with bay leaves, thyme, pepper, and sage and stir. Add chicken broth (scraping the bottom of the pan) and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Work in butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly (I use my hand because I feel that it does the job better). Add milk and stir with a fork until mixture comes together. Fold in chives.

Add peas to simmering liquid in pot and return to a simmer. Taste broth and add salt and/or pepper here if you think it needs it.

Using a large spoon, drop 8 ball-shaped dumplings (slightly bigger than golf balls) into liquid. Cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes (without lifting lid), until dumplings are tender and cooked through (they’ll be firm to the touch).

Remove from heat and discard bay leaves. Ladle soup and dumplings into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Closing notes:

– This is the type of recipe where you can use what you have on hand. You can use celery, zucchini…whatever. The onion and carrot are important to the soup, but the other veggies can be varied as needed.

– Last time I made this soup I didn’t have chives for the dumplings. So I used parsley instead. They were still really good.  I also didn’t have peas but it still tasted wonderful.

– The original dumpling recipe didn’t call for salt but I feel that it needs that little pinch to add flavor.