Spring cleaning is not just washing, dusting and vacuuming for someone who loves to cook. A kitchen witch knows that rotating what is in stores is also part of the process. Yesterday, when I looked at A. the weather outside and B. the staples that needed using up, things could not have come together more easily, tortilla soup! (The carrots, pineapple and walnuts can wait a day or two.)
I remember someone in my past saying, ” There are two kinds of cooks, those that follow a recipe and those that open the cupboard and figure out what to do with what they have on hand”. Dinner tonight was option two.
You will need:
2 small onions
2 14oz. tins of beans, black, chili, kidney or something similar
20 oz. can of flavoured diced tomatoes
6 chicken thights ( or 3 chicken breast )
1 cup frozen corn or 1 tin
1/2 tin tomato paste
3 Tbsp. Mex + Tex spice
1 bottle of beer
salt to taste
taco chips or toasted tortillas that have been cut in strips or crumbled ( mine were 100% corn so gluten free )
With gratitude for not adding to the pile of wasted food this country produces each day, I gathered up my ingredients, washed hands and took a deep breath, happy to shift focus from shovelling snow to a healthy comforting meal about to be started. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The only additional suggestion is to ensure that the meat is covered by the other ingredients.
Let the slow cooker do its thing until the chicken is cooked and soft. Thighs will probably be ready in about four hours and breasts in about five.
Cook for an additonal 2 -3 hours so that the total length of time is about seven hours.
The onions are the test veggie as they will take the longest to become soft.
Whether you think of this as a soup or a chili will depend on how much liquid is let at the end of the cooking and if the mixture is too thick for you, adding more beer is always an option (remember that the alcohol will evaporate while cooking), or stock, tomato juice or water.
The Mex & Tex spice is a reference to a post from before Christmas.
I had nothing mixed so I rummaged through the spice cabinet and put the items below together.
As there were powders and seeds and leaves, it all went into the grinder. You can see how much the colour changed once ground by comparing the spices in the set-up picture. Start with 3 Tbsp. spice and salt to taste. Be sure to taste so as not to over spice. If it gets too hot, topping with sour cream will help cool things a bit, just like yoghurt helps calm down curries.
1 Tbsp. onion powder
2 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 3/4 Tbsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 1/2 tsp. chipotle flakes
1/2 tsp. oregano ground or 3/4 tsp. leaves
When ready to serve, transfer to a bowl and top with sour cream and grated cheese. Add avocado and cilantro if available and either toasted corn tortilla strips as seen here or crunched up taco chips if that is handier.
I would encourage you to be one of those people who opens the cupboard doors to see what the adventure will be. They probably won’t always be blue ribbon but when there is no tomato paste, tomato sauce will do. No beer, find the beef stock and in this case, no chicken, use ground beef. Practice using your creativity. Taste and finish to your families taste buds and you will always hit the mark.
Deliciously warm in the tummy on a cold night and uses up the savoury bits of what was in need of being consumed. I call that a win win.
Chicken Taco/Tortilla Soup from My Kitchen Wand