Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Southwest Chicken (or Turkey) Soup

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. That is also the case when it is cold outside and you do not want to make that run to the store for ingredients. 
That's what happened to me last weekend. I wanted soup. Real homemade soup. But I did not want to go anywhere. So, I opened the pantry and freezer to see what I had on hand.

Well, at least I have my base. And if I'm going to add Ro-tel, aka diced tomatoes and green chilies (yes, you can get a mild variety), I may as well make it something southwest.

Next, I found a package of 4 bone-in chicken breasts. I put those in the microwave and preheated the oven to 350 degrees. Any excuse to turn the oven on on a cold day, right?
Once the chicken was thawed--well, mostly anyway--I brushed them with butter before seasoning them with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder, them put them in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes. If your chicken in thawed, knock that time back to 35-40 minutes.

While the chicken was cooking, I continued to forage. 
Two carrots and some celery. Onion and garlic. 
Once the chicken was cooled, I cut it up.
Okay, this is starting to come together.

Saute the veggies in a large Dutch oven. I was going to saute them in olive oil, but I was out, so what better excuse to butter.
In a perfect world, I might have added some bell pepper, too, but I didn't have any. Still smells yummy, though.

Time for the broth, Ro-tel and chicken.
Hmph. This just might work. But it needs some seasoning.
We'll start with a little bit of cumin, about a teaspoon.
 Oh, and chili powder is a must if it's going to be southwestern, so a teaspoon of that.
 Oh, and why not a pinch of Mexican oregano, just because I happen to have some.

Stir that all in and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes before sampling the broth.
Yep, needs a little salt and pepper.
Mmm... Tasty. But it's still missing something. 
I run to the pantry.
YES! Green chilies. Just what the doctor ordered.
Since it was the larger can, I thought I'd only add half, but it didn't seem right until I added the entire can.

But it needed just one more thing.
I didn't want the sweetness of the corn to overpower the other flavors, so I added about a cup of frozen niblets.

Sample again...
One more tiny thing...
Just a teaspoon or so of tang to marry the sweetness of the corn and the spice.

Oh, and I even had an avocado that was about to go bad.

This was so good. And don't just take my word for it, my daughter and her husband polished it off the next day with two hearty thumbs-up. So guess what I'll be making after Thanksgiving? 

Things I might change next time? I might add two cans of Ro-tel and forget the extra chilies. But other than that...

So yes, Thanksgiving is upon us in only two days. I can hardly wait. I love breaking out those recipes that typically only get made one day a year. Oh, and I have yet to taste my first bite of pumpkin pie this season. Perhaps I should make two. One for me and one for everyone else.

The everyone else is pared down a bit this year. Three out of five kids and one spouse. But hey, any occasion to come together as family is a great one any day of the year.

Will you be cooking or going somewhere? 
Whatever the case, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!


  1. Mindy that soup looks yummy. And RoTel. I love it. I just discovered that delightful canned combination this fall. How have I lived in the Southwest all these years and not discovered that delicious combo already in a can?

    The best soups are those you make up with all the leftovers. yum. One of my favorite meals after thanksgiving is my cousin's turkey soup.

    1. You're right, Sandra. How could you have missed Ro-tel? ;)

      Just think of all the great turkey soups that will be brewing this weekend. Yum!

  2. I love foraging in the pantry and coming up with an interesting recipe. Love homemade soups as well. I need to stock up on veggie broth so I'll have a base when I get the urge. My daughter just brought by some lovely vegan creamed carrot soup yesterday. Yum. Had that along with toasted cheese and tomato sandwich for supper last night.

    Oh -- and dumb question. Y'all talk about dutch ovens...what exactly is that? I thought it was a fancy name for a slow cooker but now I'm thinking not. And what's the difference between Mexican Oregano and plain old oregano?

    1. Mexican oregano does differ from Mediterranean oregano. Here's the official lowdown.

      Mediterranean oregano: A member of the mint family, Mediterranean oregano grows throughout the region, from Greece to Italy, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, and Morocco. It's also known as wild marjoram. Oregano from these areas is robust in flavor, though different varieties may be more bitter, sweet, or peppery than others. Greek oregano tends to be the most savory and earthy, while Italian is milder and Turkish is more pungent.

      Mexican oregano: Mexican oregano is a relative of lemon verbena. Native to Mexico, it also grows in Central and South America and is sometimes referred to as Puerto Rican oregano. Although this herb shares the basic pungent flavor of Mediterranean oregano, it also has notes of citrus and mild licorice. Used fresh or dry, Mexican oregano pairs well with chile peppers, cumin, and paprika. Add it to Latin American dishes, Tex-Mex chili, and salsa.

      And now we know. :)

      As for the dutch oven, what Sandra said. They can range from 5 qts. to 12 qts. in size.

    2. BTW, Kav, your supper last night sounds yummy. Who knew vegetarians could eat so good? :P

  3. Hi Kav, I think Mexican oregano grew in Mexico. I could be wrong, but that is the way it has been for me.

    A dutch oven is a large pot with a lid that you slow cook with. I think in the old days they used to be cast iron. But now they call all large pots a dutch oven. Or at least they do in my family. Could be wrong about this too.

    I'm probably going to wish I kept my mouth shut. LOL

    1. Nah, I consider all large pots with two handles and a lid dutch ovens. I have more than my share of enameled cast iron ones and I LOVE them to pieces. They also double as weights and weapons, should the need arise. ;)

  4. Pot luck soup is the best, Mindy!!!!! I love your ingenuity and the way you pulled it all together.... and spices.

    Oh, Mindy, I love to have fun with spices.


    Sandra, I think you're right. I have several big, cast aluminum (heavy duty, amazing old kettles) Dutch ovens, and a few newer ones, too. I use them for roasts, pot roasts, roasting meats, one dish meals on top of the stove. They're the best big pans ever.... and the even heat is wonderful at searing in moisture so things don't dry out!

    Now I must break for food because seeing Mindy's amazingly wonderful soup made me starving-like-mad-hungry!!!!!!

    1. Spices are fun, aren't they, Ruthy? Hence my addition to Penzeys. Smoked paprika is my new favorite. Love, love LOVE that stuff.

      Now I'm hungry, too. Time to go find something to pull together.

  5. Wow, thanks for the oregano lesson. How interesting. I didn't know there was a difference. I buy a lot of Mexican spices because they are for sale here in the mercados. And I use them the same. Chortle chortle. The joke is on me. No wonder things don't always taste the same. Tooooo funny.

  6. Delicious looking soup! I love how you forage in your pantry for the ingredients and came up with something fabulous.

    To me, a Dutch oven is a pan of a certain shape, with two handles. And you can usually use it either on the stove top or the oven.

    Whatever it is officially, it's a must-have in my kitchen!

  7. Fascinating spice lesson.

    I love the way your soup came together. I could use a bowlful of that right now. It's rather nippy out.

    1. I know what you mean, Mary Cate. Which is why I made sure I have those same ingredients on hand for this weekend. No snow, but it's supposed to be nasty, wet and cold.

  8. This looks really good! I'll definitely try it!

    I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I started baking today. :)

  9. I made this on Sunday with 1 can of Rotel (was voted down on 2), no chiles (planned on the 2nd Rotel) and not genuine Oregano BUT I wanted to tell you it was really, really g...oops redundant ly words...mmm it was wonderful. A keeper.