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Fire Roasted Chicken Soup

I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten into spicy food lately. Not so hot that my face melts, or I start sweating, or that I’m trying to beat my friends Glen or Eric in finishing a plate of 9/11 Nuclear Wings from the Landing Zone in Harwinton, CT (heya, Cajun Joe!), or anything near to that…. just good, full-of-flavor food with a little good heat on the back end. That said: make no mistake, this is indeed a hearty, spicy soup, not some mild old beige chicken soup. This is a real meal with some major flavor components! The things that bring it to life are Cerrano Peppers (only 1 or 2), and Muir Glen’s Fire Roasted diced tomatoes. Check out my original recipe below.

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Spicy Fire Roasted Chicken Rice Soup

(note: adjust measurements for how much volume you want to make, I usually do about 1 – 1.5 gallons of finished soup, so I can freeze a few quarts for days when I don’t feel like working)

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pounds of Boneless Chicken Breast (organic free range, with skin)
8 cups of Chicken Stock (I use the organic free range chicken stock from Pacific Foods)
2-4 cups of Water
Spices: I like Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Chili Powder, Cumin, Garlic Salt, Onion Powder,
1 large Yellow Onion (chopped into medium-small pieces)
1/2 head of Garlic (5-8 cloves, chopped finely)
1-3 Cerrano Peppers (adjust for desired heat, leave out for a not hot version)
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 large Carrot (cut in super thin circles, or larger discs if you like your carrots crunchier)
2-3 Scallions (chopped in small rings)
1 large Leek (use the middle of the stalk—remove the dark green tops and also cut off 1-2 inches of the nubby hairy end, and don’t forget to clean your Leek, it’s dirty!)
3 Celery stalks (chopped into thin horse-shoes, a nice shape for celery to be in)
2 cups long grain brown rice (any rice will do, but I love the brown)
1 14.5 oz. can of Diced Tomatoes (for my recipe, get Fire Roasted diced tomatoes – I like Muir Glen’s Organic Fire Roasted)
…. and to finish it off (depending on your taste) ….
Melinda’s Habañero Pepper Hot Sauce [a few dabs on each bowl at service]
Sour Cream
Chives, finely chopped (as garnish over the sour cream)

YOU’LL NEED:
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Large Soup Pot
Sauté Pan
Wooden Spoon or wooden spatula
Strainer for cold-water rinse cleaning of the Leeks once opened up
2 stovetop burners

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes (soup is ready to serve at this point, but I like to simmer it longer)
Simmer time: the longer the better, imho (1-2 hours?)

1. Get your long grain brown rice cooking in your rice cooker first. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can cook your rice in a stove top pan, of course.

2. 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a large soup pot, over medium high heat

3. Chop chicken up into 1-2 inch cubes or pieces, with the skin still stuck to as many pieces as you can, and get them in the oil once it’s gotten nice and hot, and begin to move the chicken around frequently with your wooden utensile

4. Start adding liberal amounts of your spices, especially the fresh ground black pepper (I use about 20 or more twists of the pepper mill), and about a tablespoon of the Chile Powder, add cayenne pepper at this stage too if you want your soup really spicy, add a teaspoon or so of your other spices, and get them really stirred in, as you are browning and cooking the chicken. I add the spices as I go, over a 2-5 minute period add a little, stir, add a little, stir, you want to get the spices browning on the outside of the chx

5. Have your Fire Roasted Dices Tomato can open, and using the top, you can pour off some of the liquid into the chicken, like a table spoon or two, do this again 5 minutes later to keep it moist as the chx cooks

6. In sauté (or non-stick frying) pan, again with the getting olive oil hot, and add your onions, and get them sautéing, followed a minute or so later by the chopped garlic, and get those sweating off, and add some Salt and Pepper to the sauté

7. Keep an eye on that chicken, keep it stirring, seasoning as you go, with enough chile powder, the chicken should be getting fairly dark in color, like the seasonings are cooking onto the outside of the meat

8. After a few minutes of the onions and garlic cooking, add the diced cerrano peppers (you can let some of the seeds into the sauté, but try to remove some of the seeds before you add your peppers to the sauté), and cook for another couple of minutes while stirring them.

9. Then you can add the carrots, celery, leeks, scallions, red peppers and any other veggies you want in your soup. Add a couple tablespoons of the Roasted Diced Tomato juice from the can into your veggie sauté as well. (Some people like adding corn, but I’m not into it for this soup. Makes it TOO southwest imho. If I add corn, then I just spend the whole time missing the black beans, and that’s not what this soup is about for me.)

The real deal

Spicy Fire Roasted Chicken Rice Soup

10. You should sauté your veggies to your desired squish factor. I like good soft veggies in a soup, so I let them go for 15 minutes or more, some people just like the get them seasoned, sweated, hot, and mixed and that’s more like 6 or 7 minutes.

11. Add three or four spoonfuls of the diced tomatoes (1/3 of the can roughly?) to the chicken and get those stirred up. After a minute or so, start adding Chicken Stock. Go ahead and add 2-4 cups at this point, and get up to boiling – and reduce to medium heat.

12. When you are ready, add the veggie sauté into the soup pot and get it stirred up good. * At this point, you’ll start seeing the chicken skin pieces all floating to the surface, you can take those out and chuck ‘em. I give them to the cats, they go bananas. Some people leave the skin in, but it’s all fat, so if you want a leaner meal, get them outta there. I love the taste they add when they are there for the browning of the chicken part, but I suppose you could start with skinless if that’s important to you.

13. Add in the rest of the Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes from the can, feel free to rinse the can out with a little water and pour into the soup, can’t waste a drop of that fire roasted tomatoey goodness

14. Add your cooked rice (I use two cups of dry rice to start with for this recipe, adjust to your desire) and stir.

15. Let it cook on medium heat, uncovered, for about 10 more minutes

16. Finally, once the rice has soaked up a bunch of the water, you can add the rest of the Chicken Stock and a couple more cups of water. If you like a thinner soup, add more water.

17. Bring it back to boil, and it’s ready to serve. If you like, let it simmer on low low heat for another hour or more, and it’ll thicken up a bit, and the veggies and meat will get very soft.

SERVE:
Ladle into bowls, add a couple dabs of the Habañero hot sauce if you like, a dollop of sour cream if you’re into dairy, and finish with chopped chives and try and eat just one bowl—I betcha can’t.

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