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.

Lentil Soup with Roasted Root Vegetables and Goat Cheese

Ahh, the dreariness of the recent weather here at home is enough to put anyone to sleep. It’s so hard to feel motivated enough even to make dinner when it’s like that. It makes me just want to curl up on the couch and have someone bring me something good to eat. Luckily, I had some cooked lentils leftover from another dish we had made recently so I decided to make a soup.

I thought roasted root vegetables would go nicely with this, as more of a “garnish” than something you would cook into the soup itself. I planned in advance to use the roasted vegetables, but adding the goat cheese was a last minute decision. It gives it a nice tang to counter the earthy flavors. This is a really warm and comforting soup.

2 cups cooked green/french lentils
3 cups chicken/vegetable broth
1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs thyme
salt
pepper
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large sweet potato, chopped into cubes
3 parsnips, chopped into cubes
1/2 butternut/acorn/kabocha squash, chopped into cubes
Goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 425F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium dutch oven (or heavy bottom pot) on medium/high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and a pinch of salt and sautee until tender (5-7 minutes). Add garlic and sautee for another 2 minutes. Add lentils, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, cumin, coriander, 1/2 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Stir together and then add in broth. Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to let all of the flavors incorporate. Once the soup is done, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Then squeeze about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice in. Add a little more if you feel that it needs more. The lemon juice really brings some life to the soup. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed. (it depends on how much sodium is in your broth)

Meanwhile, toss the squash, sweet potato, and parsnips with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 20-30 minutes until golden and fully cooked. Toss the vegetables around halfway through the cooking process.

Ladel into bowls, place about 2 tablespoons of the roasted vegetables in the middle and top with a little bit of crumbled goat cheese.

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.

Thai chicken noodle soup

We recently made this Nigella Lawson recipe for thai chicken noodle soup. It grew on me more and more as I ate it. It was really simple to make, but when I make it again I will do some things differently. I mention at the bottom what I would change next time…

Here’s the recipe.

  • 1 quart chicken stock/broth
  • 1 package (6 oz) thin rice noodles or mungbean thread vermicelli
  • About a cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1-1.5″ piece fresh ginger, peeledand sliced thinly, then cut intoskinny strips
  • 2 15ml tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 fresh long red chilli, de-seededand cut into strips
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • leftover chicken, shredded – (about 2 cupfuls, loosely packed)
  • 2 cups stir-fry or other assorted vegetables
  • 2–3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, to serve
  • Instructions:

    Put the chicken stock in a good-sized pot to heat up.

    Put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over or cook as instructed on the packet.

    Add the remaining ingredients, except the vegetables, to the pan and bring to a boil.

    When the chicken is piping hot, add the vegetables and when they are tender – a minute or two should be plenty if you’re using the tender shoots – add the drained noodles. Or simply divide the noodles between bowls and pour the soup over them.

    Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh coriander.

    Serves: 3-4 as a main course

    My notes:

    • Next time I make this I will salt the water for the noodles. The noodles had no flavor and they really needed that salt.
    • I used baby bok choy as my vegetable but you can pretty much add anything that can get tender in a few minutes of being boiled.
    • Make sure the water is completely drained from the noodles so that you don’t add water to the soup base
    • I suggest adding a touch of salt at the end to the soup
    • I didn’t have leftover chicken so I roasted a chicken breast (bone-in) seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper for 40 minutes or so at 350 degrees.
    • Another option besides chicken is shrimp…or even scallops could be good.
    • The longer this soup sits, the more the flavors meld together.