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Mexican chicken soup … a solution to pesky leftovers!

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Leftovers can be a blessing – or totally evil!

They are terrific when you are inspired – there’s so many yummy things you can make. Mexican chicken soup is a prime example of that – I will get to that in just a second.

But, leftovers can be so bad! If they are unhealthy – like leftover cake or some other dessert – you can find yourself feeling obliged to eat these things so they don’t go to waste.

I have had that exact issue over the past week. I don’t want to see food go to waste – but my waistline doesn’t need it either, especially after the indulgence of my birthday weekend. If you missed that post – you can read up here. I ranted about the importance of this sort of food being consumed in “moderation” – I’m not doing well with that right now!

So, while I need to get on a better track with my eating – and give the leftovers away – I am proud to say that my exercise has been going well since making my departure from personal training two weeks ago. It was a big move, and I wasn’t sure how I’d go – but I have managed to walk to, from – or both ways – to work at least three times a week. It’s a good 35-minute power walk each way. I have also been walking on weekends as well. My back has been treated and is also feeling much, much better. This weekend I am heading back to the gym and I’m really looking forward to it.

I feel focused and happy with what I am doing … now to tighten up on the food intake! Why can’t things just be perfect!

Anyway, speaking of perfect – that is a word I would use to describe this soup. It’s a cross between Mexican tortilla soup – and chicken soup. It’s spicy, sour and creamy all at the same time and while the ingredients may seem a little strange – I can promise you – it’s a taste and texture sensation and your taste buds are going to LOVE it! I’m giving you the recipe for chicken – but I actually used leftover turkey on this occasion. It was really nice. This is a meal in a bowl. Nothing else is required.

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 kashmiri chillies (available from Asian and Indian stores), seeds removed
  • 4 cups of good quality chicken stock, plus more water, if needed
  • 1 avocado – cut onto chunks
  • 4 heaped tbs of soft, creamy fetta cheese
  • 4 heaped teaspoons of light sour cream
  • 3 small tortillas (flour or corn), cut into strips
  • 1 store-brought roast chicken (or you can cook one yourself) removed from the bone and shredded
  • 1 good-sized lime, cut into quarters

Heat a non-stock frypan to a high heat and add a little olive oil. Add the tomatoes, onion and garlic to the pan and allow to cook until everything has some good colour. The bits of brown and black add wonderful depth of flavour.

Place in a food processor along with the kashmiri chillies – or use a stick blender and whiz everything until it’s lovely and smooth. Transfer the tomatoey paste to an oiled, medium-sized saucepan. Bring it to the boil and simmer gently for about five minutes. This enhances and improves the flavours.

Add the stock, bring to the boil again and simmer for 10 minutes on a gentle boil.

Meanwhile – heat your grill. Place the tortilla strips onto a non-stick baking tray (so you don’t need to use any oil). Cook under the grill until they are lovely and golden and crispy. This will only take a few minutes – so please make sure you keep an eye on them!

Once your soup has been simmering, add the shredded chicken.

Stir well and bring back to the boil. You just want to reheat the chicken. Taste the soup at this point and season with salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid if you feel like the soup is a little bland. The accompaniments will make it just right. Promise!

Now it’s time to assemble!

Ladel the soup into four large bowls, making sure each person gets their share of chicken. Add a small amount of tortillas to each bowl, leaving some for garnish. Divide the avocado and fetta between the bowls. Add a teaspoon of sour cream to each bowl and finally garnish with the leftover tortillas. Drizzle a little lime juice over each bowl and garnish with the wedge, just in case your guests would like a little more sourness.

Finally – put your head over the bowl and start scooping!!

Weird ingredients, I know – but for me, this soup was a revelation! I had never tasted anything like it before. Traditionally, a Mexican cheese is used, which I haven’t been able to source. But, fetta is recommended instead and works wonderfully. They also traditionally call for passilla chillies. I have never been able to find them, so I use kashmiri instead and they are wonderful. Not too spicy – but just enough! Normally cream is used with this soup – but I use light sour cream to cut back on fat and the tortillas are generally deep-fried. Once again, I have baked to cut back on fat – and I think it works just as well. I didn’t like the oily texture from the deep-frying.

I really hope you give this one a try. It’s wonderful for lunch – and a bowl for dinner certainly won’t leave anyone hungry.

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