As the adage goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. How is it, then, that I brought back an awful cold? The kind where even though it’s 28 degrees C and sunny, you stay in bed all day, shivering and trying to stave off a hacking cough?
This spicy chicken soup would be the perfect relief for my cold. Alas, I don’t have any in the freezer and I’m in no shape to make some now. Fortunately, the Culinary Enthusiast has ministered to me with takeout chicken Tom Yum from our local Vietnamese restaurant. Lucky me — he’s a smart and caring guy.
That white stuff on the ground in the photos is snow, from our seemingly endless winter. Thank goodness there’s not any of that around here now.
The only other thing I’ll say before getting down to the recipe is that I went all pioneer when I made this, starting with an actual whole chicken that I simmered, resulting in both chicken stock and meat for the soup. That’s not necessary; you could use a purchased stock and poach off some chicken pieces (or better yet, use leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, if you’re the efficient, planning-ahead type). Regardless, this soup is spicy, nourishing and comforting, and I wish I had some right now. <cough, cough>
Southwest Chicken Soup
When I made this soup I had flat-leaf parsley but not cilantro. I think cilantro would fit the flavour profile better. Use one or the other, or both; after all, you’re in charge of your own soup!
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 4 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (white and/or dark, it’s up to you)
- handful flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
- juice of 1 lime
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven, then tumble in the celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the vegetables soften but not brown. Stir in all the seasonings, and let it all get happy for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken stock and cooked chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
After 20 minutes, taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. When the 30 minutes is up, stir in the parsley and lime juice. Start with half a lime, and taste to see if you need the rest to brighten and lift the flavours of the soup.
To serve, garnish with the reserved chopped parsley.
(It wouldn’t be a bad idea to save some in the freezer in case you catch a cold.)