By the Skinny Gourmet (E. McDonnell)
Makes 14 servings. Freezes well.
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced small
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds (when raw) boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 large carrots, peeled
1 cup diced tricolor sweet peppers
oil as needed to prevent sticking
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can regular diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon chipotles in adobo, blended
1/2-1 medium jalapeno pepper, deseeded (optional if you like things hotter)
5 1/2 cups of Chicken Broth (or sub 1 c for beer)
1/4 cup dried quinoa
1 small can mild green chilis
2 tsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2-3 tablespoons chili powder (I use Whole Foods bulk)
10 oz sweet corn
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
Garnish with (optional):
Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Oven baked strips of tortillas
If using chicken breast (rather than already roasted chicken leftovers), cut the chicken into rough dice no larger than 1/2 inch. Add oil to a large capacity pot and heat over medium high flame.
Add diced onion, carrots, red pepper flakes, and chicken. Do not stir continuously, because it will prevent browning the chicken. When you have a nice sear on one side of the chicken, agitate the pot to toss the chicken.
When chicken is partially opaque but not fully cooked through, add the tricolor peppers (okay to use only one color if you prefer). Again, allow to rest approximately 2 minutes before agitating to get a little seared edge on the peppers.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic. Cook until fragrant, stirring. Do not allow garlic to burn: reduce heat if necessary.
When garlic is fragrant and golden but not burned, add: both cans of diced tomatoes, diced zucchini, chicken broth (if using beer substitute, reserve beer for adding later), quinoa, can of green chilis, corn, cumin, oregano, cloves, chili powder and salt.
To make blended chipotle/adobo: pour a can of chipotles in adobo sauce into a small capacity food processor and process on high until smooth and blended. Measure out 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle/adobo sauce and add to the soup. Return the remainder to a small container to store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
If you prefer a very spicy soup, you may increase the chipotle mixture up to 1 tsp and may optionally add 1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced.
Heat over medium for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, the quinoa is translucent, and the vegetables are cooked to al dente.
Just before serving, stir in the cilantro, lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper.
Garnish with your choice of: sour cream, guacamole, additional cilantro, and oven-baked tortilla strips.
To Make Tortilla Strip Garnish
Take 2-3 small corn or flour tortillas (whatever you prefer). Slice each into thin strips, no more than 1/4 inch in width and preferably smaller. Cut the longer strips into half to produce “sticks” no more than 2.5 inches long. Spray strips with oil from an oil pump (or use PAM) sprinkle with coarse salt, and toss to ensure even coating.
Arrange in an even layer on a metal cookie sheet. Broil on low until crisp. Check them often because the intensity of the broiling heat varies by oven. Approximately 5-10 minutes.
(Do not, for example, get so involved photographing the soup that you burn your only tortillas to a charred rubble. Which explains why they don’t appear in the featured photos.)