Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

~ Feelin' Nervy: Playoff Style ~
Normally, I might blame all this nervous energy on too much coffee.  But I did not have too much coffee this morning.  It's the looming AFC Championship game later this evening, and my Steelers are playing for an all-expense paid trip to Dallas in two weeks.  I haven't been able to focus on a thing, despite waking with grandiose ideas of cleaning the entire house, painting the bedroom, and filing my entire never-ending pile of papers - all before the game.  The only thing I managed to do was compose this Steeler Haiku at 11:30am:

No concentration
Full of nervous energy
Too early for wine?

I posted these heartfelt thoughts on Facebook and rowed (a slower means of navigating than surfing) around the Internet for Steeler fight songs.  The rowing did not calm me, however, so I went for a run on the treadmill.  Forty-five minutes later, I emerged from the basement feeling better but the ants in my pants soon returned.  I ate a black and gold cupcake.

Snooping around the cupboards and in the refrigerator, I embarked on making soup with ingredients we already had.  (This is a novel idea in our house.)  I casually glanced around for non-staple items like enchilada sauce that would cause a last-minute trip to the grocery store.  Prep schmep - I dived in.  Half way into the soup, would you believe we were out of chicken broth?  I thought a new one just popped up in the cupboard when I took one out.  Huh.  Bless HotDog's little heart for running out in 15-degree weather.

For luck, we feasted on the soup before D2 went back to his mom's house.  I suspected the soup would be a Keeper since I adapted it from a slow-cooker recipe I've made in the past.  As I sat to begin this blog post, I could feel the nerves creeping back up.  I took a break to take a hot shower and pour that aforementioned glass of wine.  Now it's time to cuddle on the sofa with HotDog and the dogs (lovingly nicknamed the PuppaRooneys) and cheer with all my might for the Steelers to play as good as this soup!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped fine
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 fully-cooked rotisserie chicken
28-oz can of diced tomatoes
28-oz can of enchilada sauce
4-oz can of chopped green chilies
2 generous Tablespoons of tomato paste
1 Tablespoon dried cilantro
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)
2 Tablespoons cornmeal
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups monterey jack cheese with jalapeno, shredded
1 avocado, diced

Remove meat from chicken and place in bowl.  Cut into fine pieces with kitchen shears.
In a large soup pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat.  When onions are translucent, stir in tomatoes.  Before I added my diced tomatoes, I cut them into much smaller pieces with my kitchen shears. Then I had to snip at them some more after I added them to the pot. It seems the vegetable canning factory models their tomato dicing after the large dice you find in Vegas souvenier shops, instead of the small regulation-size dice they use on the craps tables.
Then add chicken, enchilada sauce, chilies, tomato paste, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, and cornmeal.   
Heat to a near boil and add chicken broth.  Then stir in the cheese until melted.  Right before serving, stir in the avocado unless you want to save it as garnish.  Ladle into bowls and top with tortilla strips or crumbled tortilla chips, some extra cheese and avocado.

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