Tag Archives: chicken

Chicken Tortilla Soup

From the way I’ve been cooking lately and having chicken recipes on the blog, you’d probably think it’s the only meat we eat around here.  Really it’s not!  And it’s about to be changed up a bit soon, as we’re about to get our half of a Beef next week in our freezer!!  I’ll talk more about that later when we get it and will be cooking up some fun dinners with ALL of that hundred-something pounds of beef!  But for now, I’ve been on a roll with my chicken stock and just made one of our favorite soups with it a couple days ago.  It may be our absolute, all-time favorite soup, but is it even possible to have one favorite??

I made this Chicken Tortilla Soup last winter when I was getting over a cold and just wanted a chicken broth/soup that was warm, comforting, and had a little bit of heat and spice to it.  So I brewed up the idea in my head, wrote down all the ingredients I wanted in it, and then cooked it up how I thought would be best.

Turned out that hubby and I loved it!  Then a friend came over and I dished him up a bowl and received one of the best compliments. He said something like, “I feel like I’m at a nice restaurant, and should be wearing a tie or something”.  I was so happy to hear that.  It is everything you would want from a soup and more.  Warm, comforting, soothing, with a bit of heat, so flavorful, all in a chicken broth that is thickened just slightly with a little flour sprinkled on the meat during the sautéing.  It has all the textures you’d want, with the chicken, beans, etc. to sink your teeth into, and the crunch from the tortilla chips.

This time I decided to go all out, I made a pot of Chicken Stock, got the strained stock in a pot to stay warm on the stove, then in the stock pot made the soup with the meat that I pulled off the bones halfway through simmering the stock.  You can definitely make this with store-bought stock and one or two chicken breasts, which is how I did it the first time.  It’s wonderful both ways.  But whatever you do, just make it!!!  If you do use stock and meat from the store or just pulled out of your freezer, it is a quick one to cook up since most of the ingredients are canned and you don’t have to chop, slice, and dice a ton of produce to prep for it.

::Chicken Tortilla Soup::

1 yellow onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 jalepeno or serrano peppers, minced
2 c. (~ 1/2 to 1 lb) cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
2 t. chili powder
1-2 t. cumin
pinch of s+p
3 T. AP flour
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 c. enchilada sauce, medium or hot (adjust for your taste)
4-5 quarts chicken stock/broth
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies, drained
handful cilantro and/or parsley, chopped
handful cheddar cheese, grated
1 c. frozen corn

tortilla chips (a must!)
cheddar cheese, grated
green onions, sliced

[If chicken is not cooked yet, cut a couple breasts into cubes, heat olive oil in large soup pot and saute chicken just until cooked.  Set aside in a bowl and return empty pot to stove.]  Heat 3-4 T olive oil in large soup pot over med.-high heat and saute onion until translucent.  Add in garlic and jalapeno and let cook a couple minutes.  Stir in cooked chicken, sprinkle in the cumin, chili powder, and s+p and stir it up.  Sprinkle the 3-ish T flour onto the chicken, stir and cook 3-5 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.  Pour in diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce, and chicken stock, stir and let it heat up to a simmer.  Pour all the beans in a colander, drain and rinse, add the diced green chilies, then stir it all into the soup.  Add in the frozen corn, a handful of grated cheddar, and cilantro.  Salt and pepper to taste, and adjust the level of heat to your preference, adding a bit more minced jalapeno or a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little more kick.  If you have kids or don’t like much heat, just omit all of the peppers.

{For an even more nourishing soup, if you plan ahead, soak the beans overnight.  Set 1 c. each of black and pinto beans in a bowl, cover with warm water and 2 T. lemon juice.  Leave on kitchen counter for 12-24 hrs.  Drain, rinse, place in a pot and fill pot with water.  Bring to a boil, skim off foam, and let simmer, covered, for 2-ish hours.  Then drain and use in soup.}

To serve, dish up into bowls and sprinkle with green onions, cheese, and crush tortilla chips on top.  YUMMMYYY!!  Enjoy!

It’s a perfect dinner now that it’s chilly outside.  And it’s even better the second night, as the flavors marry in the fridge overnight.  Or, as my husband likes to say, “The flavors were naughty overnight”.  =)

Stocking up on Chicken Stock

Well the beauty and chill of Fall came and set in so quickly, and it feels like winter is just around the corner.  Even though it’s getting colder and darker every day, I have been thoroughly enjoying Fall this year.  The changing weather and colors are so inspiring to be knitting up something wooly and warm, and cooking up something warm and comforting in the evening.

I love making lots of soup this time of year, and always need so much stock for it.  I used to load up on chicken stock from Costco, when they had the Pacific Natural Foods organic chicken broth which came in a box of 6 quart-size cartons, and at a great price.  Costco just quit carrying that and switched to the Kirkland stock, which I don’t trust so much to be so natural and organic.  So I decided to start making my own.  In the last two weeks I’ve made two pots of Chicken Stock and am working on stocking up a lot of it.  =)

One of my favorite things is having homemade soups and stocks in the freezer all winter.  It’s so great to pull out on those cold nights when you don’t feel like cooking but just want something homemade and warm.

I buy whole local Hutterite chickens at the grocery store here, and usually get 2-3 at a time so I always have some on hand.  It’s less than $2/lb this way, and so nice to know where it comes from.

::Homemade Chicken Stock::

(Note: Use one whole chicken (neck and other giblets optional), or if you have a few carcasses and bones, roast them at 350 F. for 30-40 min., then use in stock.  Also can cut the whole chicken in pieces and then set in pot if you’d like to enhance the amount of nutrients and gelatin in the broth.  On thawing: I take the bird out of the freezer, set it in my sink full of cold water, it thaws quickly.  Rough chop all vegetables, and use with or without the peelings.)

1 (4-5 lb.) roasting chicken
1 large yellow onion
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
3-4 carrots
3-4 stalks celery
3-4 sprigs each of fresh rosemary, thyme, and/or parsley
2 bay leaves
1-2 t. black peppercorns
1 T. kosher salt

Rinse the chicken and set in stockpot, whole or cut into pieces.  Toss in the remaining ingredients and cover with 7-8 quarts of cold water.  Bring to a boil on high heat, once it reaches a boil reduce to med.-low so you maintain a gentle simmer.  Skim off the foam/scum off the top often during the first hour and a half of cooking.  Simmer uncovered 4 hours, adding a little hot water as needed to keep everything submerged.

Halfway through the cook time, you can remove the chicken with a tongs from the pot onto a cutting board.  Let it cool enough to touch and peel off all the meat and use this later in soup, pizza, burritos, etc.  Return the carcass and bones back to the pot and finish cooking.

Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof bowl and discard all of the solids.  Cool immediately in an ice bath or fridge, store in fridge for up to 3 days, or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

So far I've got about ten containers like this stocked up =)

Here are a couple more good posts on chicken stock, from The Nourishing Cook and Nourished Kitchen.

At the restaurant I work at, the chef cuts all the whole Sage Creek chickens into the pieces he needs for one of his dinner entrees, then sets all the carcasses on a large baking sheet and roasts them for 40-ish minutes.  Then sets them in a large stockpot and makes stock with the roasted bones.  Whether you do it that way or with it whole, meat and all, it’s bound to be delicious, good for you, and so rewarding.  …And make the whole house smell wonderful!


Good Ol’ Fried Chicken

…Emphasis on “Good”!!  Ya’ll, this Buttermilk Fried Chicken is the best chicken I’ve ever had.

You might see most young(-ish) couples out on a Saturday night, but Will and I… we’re spending the evening at home and cooking together.  It was great.  I always love to tackle some new, exciting recipe that I haven’t done before.  And Will really enjoys being in the kitchen, cooking with me and being involved.

One of my top three favorite cookbooks I have is Ad Hoc at Home, by Chef Thomas Keller.  It is, like what an absolute favorite cookbook would be, chock-full of great recipes and beautiful photos.  At the beginning of the book is his Buttermilk Fried Chicken, which has been jumping out and calling my name for a while now.  Although I followed his instructions almost perfectly, I didn’t use a whole chicken and cut it into the ten pieces, but rather we just went and picked up a few thighs and a few drumstick pieces as I didn’t have the time this weekend to get a whole chicken thawed out and ready to go.

My friends, it is worth the work and TLC.  We were pretty excited about this dinner while we were cooking, and then while biting in to the crispy, crunchy, juicy, flavorful chicken, I couldn’t stop ‘MMM’-ing and Will was speechless.  I said to him, “I don’t think I’ve ever made anything so delicious!  And I’ve made a lot of delicious things before!”  To complete the meal I whipped up some of my garlic mashed potatoes.

Well enough said.  Here’s a few pictures, and here’s the cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home.  I highly recommend this book, it is AMAZING.  Not only does it contain many, many outstanding recipes, but is very educating on the basics of all you should know in the kitchen.

About to get a mashin'

For the mashed potatoes, I love making them.  One of the first things I learned while working in the kitchen of an upscale fine dining restaurant, was what kind of potatoes to use for what kind of dish.  For mashers, yukon golds are the best since they’re so creamy and buttery.  Reds are good too.

I use:
Red and Yukon Gold Potatoes
Half and Half
Fresh Thyme &/or Rosemary
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
s + p

In my opinion, all those are a must for mashed potatoes.  I do ’em up restaurant style, rich, buttery, and creamy.  Here I sauteed a tbsp. of minced garlic in a few tbsp. of butter, that makes a huge delicious difference.

Back to the chicken…

Assembly line- seasoned flour + buttermilk coating

All the sizzling

So fun!


As for the recipe, well you’re going to get the book, right?!?  Okay, it’s actually on that same link… right here for you.

When I was young and we’d go to Bozeman to visit my grandparents, my grandma would sometimes make Oven-Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.  I will always remember it.  It was my favorite thing she made, and so I asked her if she’d make it for me for my birthday when I was in the 8th grade.  I also called it ‘Chicken-on-the-Bone’ when I was a kid, so that has kind of stuck in the family and now gets my husband chuckling.  Hey so I wasn’t so sophisticated about it and that’s what I knew it as!  No boneless, skinless stuff for me, thank you!  She did make it for my birthday, and I loved it.  I now have her recipe, although I didn’t follow it totally tonight as I mostly did it from the Ad Hoc book rather than oven-fried, but next time I will make her dish.  …With the gravy of course.

Upon a recent visit with her, we talked about this and boy oh boy does she know her chicken.  She can show and tell you exactly how to butcher it, cut it up, and cook it.  I’ve always heard the story where her and my grandpa were first married and she had to make this big dinner for all the family, having to chase after a couple chickens on the farm, butcher them, pluck the feathers, and cooked away all day, along with a couple homemade pies, for this special dinner.  🙂

I think she’d be proud and I will pass this on as THEE dinner to be made for special family and special times.

Perfect Comfort Food for a Chilly Spring Weekend

I’m kicking off with my Lemon-Herb Roast Chicken I made last weekend, who doesn’t love some good comfort food for a weekend of chilly spring weather?  I got a 5.5 lb. free-range chicken, raised by the local Sage Creek hutterite colony, roasted it with all the vegetables, and the day after I did a pot of homemade chicken stock with the leftover carcass and pieces.  The next day I made a pot of Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Dumplings, using the stock, and had my family over for dinner.  I love that you can make it last about a week and get a lot out of it.  So good!

Easy Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

5-6 lb. roasting chicken
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 large yellow onion, halved.  cut one half in half again, thickly slice other half for roast veg
1 bunch fresh thyme
handful of fresh parsley
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temp

Vegetables for tossing in:
4-6 large carrots, cut 1″ pieces
1 bulb fennel, tops and core removed, then halved and sliced thickly
whole garlic cloves, from 1 whole head, no need to peel
6-7 red potatoes, halve small ones, quarter large ones

Preheat oven to 400 deg.
Keep half the herb bunches whole, finely chop the other half.  Mix the chopped herbs into the softened butter.  Remove chicken giblets and rinse the bird inside and out, remove any leftover fat or pin feathers.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Season outside and inside cavity with s + p.  Stuff the cavity with the whole sprigs of thyme and parsley, lemon pieces, garlic, and onion half pieces.  Brush or rub the outside of the chicken with the herb butter, work your fingers between the skin and breasts and rub the butter under skin.  Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wings under.  Season the outside w/ s + p again.

Toss vegetables in a large bowl with enough olive oil to coat, season with s + p.  Spread around in the roasting pan and place the chicken on top (breast-side up).  Lay any remaining whole sprigs of thyme on top of veg.

In she goes

Roast for approximately 1 1/2 hours, basting every 20-30 minutes.  You can tell that it’s done when the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 deg F, the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh, and the legs can be wiggled and moved easily.  When done, take the chicken out of the pan and place on a platter or cutting board, let rest 15 min. covered with foil.  Serve with the delicious vegetables and bon appetit!

While roasting, if the pan drippings and veg start getting too brown and crisp, add a little liquid to the pan.  (If you loaded it with vegetables to roast in there like I did, you won’t have this problem).  The roasted vegetables got to be super caramelized and sweet, my hubby loved it that way!!

Here’s a pic of my first roasted chicken I did, a while ago.  Pretty delicious for my first one!  Pic of this one is better too…

***What I will try the next time: I roasted my potatoes on a separate sheet pan this time, but next time will toss in the roasting pan with the rest of the vegetables and chicken.  Try 375 deg. for first 1/2 hour, then up to 425 deg., til the breast meat reaches 160 degrees, and thigh meat reaches 165-170 (about 45-ish min. longer?).  Baste after the first half hour.

Well there you have it folks!  It will be great for me to refer back to this post next time I go to make this again, and hopefully some of you who stumble upon this recipe will be inspired and can get some use out of it!  It’s really pretty easy, and after you do it a couple times then you can whip out a big, special, comforting roast chicken dinner in no time 🙂  Cheers!