The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we had a soup party, one of my favorite ways to entertain. I made two soups, the Chicken Tortilla Soup below and a lighter Kale, White Bean, and Sausage Soup (topped with shredded parmigiano) made with two beeyootiful bunches of kale I got at the farmer's market that morning.
My sister helped me set out platters of cured meats, cheeses, and a big bowl of crusty bread (also from the farmer's market), and a salad rounded out the meal. Set out bowls and spoons and a couple three bottles of wine and you're done. It's seriously the easiest party you will ever throw.
We invited two families and my brother and his family arrived from Oregon just in time for dinner. My pal Mary—who I always bump into at the farmer's market and finally thought to invite for dinner—brought gingery cupcakes for dessert that were so good they should be illegal.
This recipe was passed to me by JB, a fab woman I "met" online. I have since made some changes to the recipe, to reflect my taste, but the spirit of the recipe is hers.
CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
Set out bowls of tortilla chips (or homemade tortilla strips as we did), shredded cheese (I like Yancey's Fancy peppadew aged cheddar cheese from Costco in this), cilantro, avocado, and lime wedges so guests can garnish their own bowl. Serves 12-16 hungry eaters.
- 3 lbs. chicken (all breast or a combination of light and dark meat)
- 16 cups water
- 1 cup butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalks celery, cut in half lengthwise then diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tsps. paprika
- 4-6 tsps. Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or regular salt if you prefer)
- 4 tsps. ground cumin
- 2 cans Ro*Tel tomatoes (15 oz), use mild if serving kids if you prefer
- 2 cans diced green chiles (4 oz)
- 1 pint of sour cream (low fat okay)
Cook the chicken in a large pot of water. (I drop the chicken into simmering water and "poach" for about 20 minutes. Then I remove the chicken right away so it doesn't get tough.) Chop chicken and set aside, saving all the broth for later.
Melt butter in another large pot and cook onion, garlic, celery, and carrots over medium heat until onions are translucent. Gradually add the flour, paprika, seasoned salt, and cumin (you are basically making a roux). Slowly add reserved broth, a ladle at a time, and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Add rotel and chiles. Stir and add chicken. (At this point, you can keep the soup indefinitely.) Just before serving, stir in sour cream and heat through but do not boil. Serve in bowls topped with garnish.
Note: I froze the soup and we ate the leftovers for dinner last night. It was fine, still creamy and delish even with the sour cream added.