Deep Stir: Chicken Tequila Tortilla Soup

The “real feel” temperature was 8 degrees in Brooklyn this weekend, so I decided to take advantage of the long weekend to cook up some homemade chicken stock to use for a spicy chicken tequila tortilla soup.

While lengthy to make, chicken stock isn’t as time consuming as it sounds since it can simmer for a few hours on the stovetop once the ingredients are combined.  Just keep an eye on it for safety, of course.

Chicken Stock
2 (4-5 pound) roasting chickens
3 medium yellow onions, cut in half
5 carrots, cut in half lengthwise
6 stalks of celery, cut in half lengthwise
1 head of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half lengthwise to expose each clove
1 packet of fresh poultry seasoning (such as rosemary, thyme and sage)
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
5 small bay leaves
Approximately 16-20 cups of water, to cover chickens

1) Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and seasonings in a very large stockpot. Add 16-20 cups of water, or enough to cover the two chickens, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours.

2) Remove the chickens from the pot and place in a bowl until cool enough to touch.

3) Using tongs, a fork or your hands, pull meat from the bones, placing all of the bones back into the boiling stock.  Store your shredded chicken for the soup (recipe below) in the refrigerator for a few hours.

4) Continue to boil the bones in the stock for another 2 1/2 hours or until the stock reaches your desired flavor.

5) Strain the entire contents of the pot through a mesh strainer or colander.  Press the liquid out of the solids and discard the solids. Remove the surface fat from the stock using a large spoon or turkey baster.

This recipe makes enough stock and shredded chicken to use half immediately for soup and to freeze half for future meals (for up to 3 months).  You can make half of the stock recipe, but I like to use the leftover homemade stock on days when I wouldn’t have time to make it from scratch.  Ideas for the extra shredded chicken include chicken salad sandwiches or chicken enchiladas.

Chicken Tequila Tortilla Soup

Serves 6+

2 medium yellow onions, diced
6 carrots, thinly sliced
1 bunch of celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, small diced
1/4 – 1/2 cup of tequila
8 – 10 cups of chicken stock (recipe above)
1 28 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
1 (4-5 pound) roasting chicken, cooked and shredded (recipe above)
8 ounces of raw baby spinach
3/4 cup of rice

Suggested Garnishes
Cooked white rice
Lime wedges
Shredded parmesan or Italian blend cheese
Sour cream
Broken tortilla chips

1) Heat a large heavy pot, and when warm, coat the bottom in a thin layer of olive oil. Add onions, celery and carrots to sauté for about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno to sauté for another 3 minutes.

2) Add tequila and cook until evaporated. Pour in broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables begin to soften, about 30 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and shredded chicken. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, in a small pot, cook white rice as directed on the package (should be between 15-20 minutes so rice is done when the soup finishes), if using as a garnish.

4) Stir raw spinach into the soup until wilted.

5) Top off your bowl with garnishes.

I ladled my soup into a bowl, then stirred in a heaping tablespoon of white rice, and topped it with sour cream, shredded cheese, a squeeze of lime and a few broken tortilla chips. I like to add the rice to each individual serving so the rice doesn’t become soggy.  A few other garnish ideas include cilantro, cheddar cheese, salsa, avocado, or guacamole.


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