New Years Re-Entry; Mexican Chicken Soup with Okra

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The holidays are officially over, resolutions are in full-gear and re-entry begins tomorrow.  I had another fantastic holiday full of family, friends and delicious foods. I arrived back in Greensboro on Thursday in time for several movies, a good clean of my house, many hours at the gym and lots of time for resting.

Then Sunday came. In preparation for re-entry to work tomorrow, I spent a good hour at the gym with friends, stocked up at the grocery store and locked myself in the house for a nice afternoon making homemade chicken stock. They say that an “arctic blast” will arrive on Thursday, so I wanted to fully prepare for the worst with homemade soup provisions!

Nothing could be more relaxing than an afternoon stewing homemade stock (I used Ina Garten’s chicken stock recipe) will listening to Carly Simon, reading the newspaper and wearing in my new fuzzy slippers. Winston, my pup, enjoyed the aromas and potential for any chicken bones slipping between any utensils.

After making the stock, I made an easy Mexican Chicken Soup with Okra. It was spicy,delicious and hearty with the addition of okra. This is a variation on Ina’s Mexican Soup but I skipped the tortillas, sour cream and cheese (oh the resolutions) and added the okra for a nice substance.

I’ll post my recipes from the New Year’s Holiday this week!

Mexican Chicken Soup with Okra

  • 4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
  • 2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 bag, frozen cut okra 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and frozen okra. Season to taste. Serve the soup hot!

 

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