My favorite thing about preparing soup is that almost anything goes. Whether preparing a clear broth soup, chowder or a stew, you have so many choices as to what you can add in. Besides chicken, two of my favorite ingredients to add to my favorite soup recipes are beans and homemade red chile sauce. Beans make for a heartier soup and can replace the meat all together if you are looking for a meatless option. And homemade red chile sauce, well, I cannot say enough about that! Depending on what kind of dried chiles you use, your sauce can be darker, smokier and spicy at times. This version using guajillo peppers is on the milder side, but adds a lot of flavor when added to this soup recipe.
Yields 6-8 servings
4 to 5 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
Water (a total of 9 cups)
1/2 white onion, reserve other half
6 cloves garlic, reserve 3 cloves
1 carrot, sliced in half
1 stalk celery, sliced in half
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
Handful of fresh cilantro with stems
Salt to taste
You Will Also Need:
6 guajillo peppers, stems and seeds removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 corn tortillas, diced fine
Reserved 1/2 onion, diced
Reserved 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
6 cups homemade chicken stock
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lime or 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 cups black beans, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
This red chile sauce is perfect for preparing various recipes. Add chicken broth and spices and you have some of the best-tasting enchilada sauce!
Fried tortilla strips
1. To a large pot, add the chicken, 8 cups water, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic, carrot, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, cilantro and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Skim off the top when needed and cook partially covered for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Remove chicken from stock and let cool before removing and shredding the meat. Discard skins and bones. Strain all the solids out of the chicken stock, skim off some of the fat and set aside.
2. While chicken is cooking, add the dried chiles to a pot of simmering water. If you like it a little more spicy, you could add a small handful of chile de arbol to the guajillos. Cook for 10 minutes or until peppers are soft and red in color. With a slotted spoon, transfer the peppers to the blender. Add 1 cup fresh water and blend on high until smooth. Strain using a wire-mesh strainer to remove all the skins and seeds that remain. Rinse blender with a little water and also pour it through the strainer into sauce. Set chile sauce aside.
3. In another large pot, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium. After a few minutes, add the tortillas and saute for 5 minutes. Add the reserved diced onions, minced garlic, jalapeño, poblano and red bell. Add another drizzle of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Add in the reserved chile sauce, 6 cups of homemade stock, cumin, oregano, pepper, lime juice, reserved chicken and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered for 20 minutes. Taste for salt and other spices, such as cumin, oregano and pepper. Before serving, add in the 1/4 cup cilantro. Garnish with your favorite toppings.