The latest cold front to come through made everyone shiver from head to toe and the remarks from most weren't exactly meant to share in a friendly Christmas spirit way. We really do not like cold weather in these parts so when it dips below 30 degrees many of us start doing and saying things we normally would not. I have always found there is nothing better that a bowl of some hot goodness to warm you up and get you speaking pleasantries again. Something that will warm you up from head to toe like this wonderful bowl of soup that reminds me of spending leisurely days in Mexico.
This is one of my favorite recipes, so rich in flavor and so good for you too; chocked full of vitamins, antioxidants with enough capsaicin to clear up a stuffy head, plus all the 'feel-good' tastes. I like to make it for a casual lunch or a simple dinner and it is perfect as a soup course when serving Mexican or Tex-Mex flavored meals. It is also great to share with a sick friend, a shut-in or a neighbor.
Try it, it will warm you up too.
2 main or about 4 soup course servings
2 medium tomatoes
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1 garlic clove, peeled
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 boneless skinless chicken breast half
1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 corn tortillas (6 inches)
1/2 cup diced zucchini
2 tablespoons chopped carrot
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup spicy hot V8 juice
1/3 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup cubed avocado
1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped (optional for garnish)
Set oven on broil with rack about 4 inches from heat source.
Brush tomatoes, onion and garlic with 1 teaspoon oil. Broil for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender, turning tomatoes once. Peel and discard charred skin from tomatoes; place in a blender. Add onion and garlic; cover and process a couple of minutes or until smooth.
Sprinkle chicken with lemon-pepper and salt; broil for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Cut one tortilla into 1/4-inch strips; coarsely chop remaining tortilla. In a large saucepan, heat remaining oil. Fry tortilla strips until crisp and browned; remove with a slotted spoon.
In the same pan, cook the zucchini, carrot, cilantro, cumin, chili powder and chopped tortilla over medium heat for 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato mixture, broth, V8 juice, corn, tomato puree, jalapeño and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Cut chicken into strips and add to soup; simmer 5 minutes longer. Discard bay leaf. Garnish with avocado, cheese and tortilla strips. Add additional chopped jalapeno if desired.