Mexican Chicken Soup... for Fall


I originally had plans to make a seared cod tonight for dinner... and I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of a Mexican chicken soup. I even procured all of the ingredients for both at Whole Foods this afternoon. But, this afternoon slipped away from me ... and some how it seemed much more rational to cook one dinner and drink wine and listen to Spotify than cook dinner and make soup.

It took me much longer this year to make the transition to soup. I know because I get a daily digest of all my social media postings from the prior years... and by this time last year I had already made the full switch to Fall. Meatballs were made. Cauliflower was roasted for soup. I think Fall feels slower this year for a few reasons of which weather is one. My mentality was still in Summer / early Fall mode until last week ... now? It's Fall. 

Mexican chicken soup isn't exactly Fall - but it's soup and it's really good. A while ago I made this Peruvian Chicken soup ... and it was real good but this is a million times different. It's only been 3 hours but I'm a fan of this version. It has just the right amount of heat / kick / spice for me. It feels different, but it still rather easy.
A few things that I think really make this recipe? 
(1) The broth. Although this is a chicken soup by definition, I used a combo of chicken and vegetable broth ... primarily because I ran out of chicken. The juice from the roasted tomatoes combined really nicely with the broth and knocks it out of the park as far as I'm concerned.
(2) The chicken.  I've never shredded chicken before. It always seemed like so much extra work, emphasis on the "so much". I was wrong. I'm never going to dice chicken again for soup. Toss those breasts in the broth to boil them. Pull them. Shred them. Toss them back in. Win.
(3) The lime. I'm not going to explain it... but don't skip it. It's not worth it and it totally changed the flavor profile for me.
(4) Lastly, the noodles. The baby pasta capellini are a solid addition. Yes, when you break them you will end up with pasta all over your kitchen... but that just feels inevitable. Embrace it.

So, here's how it all goes when you make this little wonder. I'll be eating it for the next couple of meals as leftovers and I feel like I'm still going to like it then.

(Step 1) In soup pot, heat oil on medium heat and add onion, celery, carrots until onions are translucent.

(Step 2) Add chopped garlic and jalapeño and stir about one more minute. If you wear contacts, do yourself a favor and take them out pre-jalapeno.
(Step 3) Add tomatoes and stock and chicken and bring to boil. I went with a combo of chicken (2 cups) and vegetable stock (4 cups). 
(Step 4) I didn't really keep track of how long it took for the chicken to cook in the broth - but it wasn't long and you don't really need it to be fully cooked before you shred it since it goes back in the pot. Give it about 5-8 minutes until the color changes consistently. Don't these chicken babies look like a set of lungs on my cutting board? Yes. 
Theoretically, you wait until the chicken is cooled before you shred. That seems like a waste of time - so I just grabbed two forks and began shredding. It was far easier of task than I expected and very quick as well.
 (Step 5) Simmer on low heat and put chicken in pot and add noodles, dry spices (salt, pepper, coriander, saffron and cumin) and juice from two limes (approx. 4 tbsp total).
(Step 6) Keep on low heat or remove from heat when noodles are cooked. It barely takes about 5 minutes.

(Step 7) Serve with a dash of cilantro leaves and slices of lime.

Shopping List
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white onion chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 cup chopped carrot
6 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 pound skinless chicken breast
6 cups chicken and vegetable stock combination
2 14 ounces cans of roasted tomatoes with juice (I purchase whole tomatoes and cut them up)
1 1/2 cup capellini noodles broken in small pieces
1 jalapeno pepper (remove seeds) and mince
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
2 limes juiced

Inspired by this Food 52 posting 

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