Mexican Chicken Soup / Sopa de Pollo
Yesterday was a tough day. Denise and I attended the funeral for the husband of one of our “mentor teachers.” You know what I’m talking about. The teacher who connects with you in such a special way that it changes your life trajectory. We’ve all had that person in our lives and if we are lucky, we’ve had several of them. This was one of ours. A woman who was tough but always fair. One who could inspire you or hold you tight as you cried. Well, yesterday, Denise and I had the blessed opportunity to return the favor as she grieved for the sudden loss of her dear, sweet husband who loved her so much.
As part of my upbringing, I was taught to never go to someone who is grieving without food in hand. For this occasion, it was decided a simple and fresh chicken soup would be just the thing. Even if she did not have an appetite, soup would be something she might be able to tolerate when told she had to eat.
Remember, if you have that special mentor in your life, even if it is from over 20 years ago, seek them out and let them know what they did for you. You never know how much they might need to hear what you have to say at that exact moment…and don’t forget the soup!
As it turns out, soup really can feed your soul.
2T olive oil
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 chili peppers of your choice. (I use Hungarian Wax Peppers because they are not spicy and have a wonderful tanginess to them)
2 onions, diced
1T ground cumin
1T chili powder
1t red pepper flakes
*all of the spices are to your taste
5 fresh tomatoes, large diced
2 – 32oz containers of low-sodium chicken broth or make your own broth
Whole poached chicken, shredded (don’t have time, get a rotisserie chicken and remove skin and all fat and shred)
Juice of 8 limes plus additional limes to serve fresh with the soup (don’t use packaged lime juice – it’s not the same!!)
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Add olive oil into large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic and sauté until tender. Add spices and stir. Add tomatoes and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add juice of limes. Add broth and 1/2 of the cilantro. Taste. Add salt, pepper and spices as desired. Add chicken and warm until the soup is hot.
Serve with a couple of slices of fresh avocado, wedge of lime and a pinch of fresh cilantro.
For another great ‘garnish’, take some flour tortillas, cut them into strips, fry them in vegetable oil, drain on paper towels and salt immediately when removed from the oil. These things are crazy addicting and not healthy (shocking, I know, what addictive things are healthy?!).