Monday, October 22, 2012

making soup

Last week, when the high temperature was still reaching ninety degrees, the forecast for Sunday showed clouds, rain, and a temperature twenty degrees cooler. I deemed it soup weather and determined to make chipotle chicken tortilla soup. This one is a staple in my cold-weather rotation. I first came across it a few years ago when Gourmet was still alive and breathing, and hushing me with its inspiring beauty. I admired all of the recipes I saw in that magazine, but few got a corner bend to lead me back to it when I was in my kitchen, not on my couch. This was one of them. 

At that point, I don’t think I’d ever made a stock myself before, but I hated the idea of buying it in a can or box. This recipe had you simmering chicken and veggies for a few hours to create the broth, then cutting up the chicken to add back in. Though it takes a while, very little of it is hands-on time, especially once you’ve made it once or twice. And the tasks it does give you are meditative ones: chopping potatoes, taking chicken from bones, whirring some onions, broth and spices in a blender to make a puree that gets added to the stock for some extra character and heat. The whole time, that homey scent of chicken broth is in the air, which makes you want to stay close to the kitchen anyway. (My mother made chicken noodle soup on Christmas Eve, so the smell holds that extra comfort of memory for me.) 

As with all food, the best part is eating it. Just before you dig in, remember the extras: a squeeze of lime adds some brightness, a slice of avocado brings down the heat just a bit, and some tostados give it a satisfying crunch.

The only thing that made the soup better last night was that two unexpected visitors showed up for dinner. The young one in our household was quiet for the beginning of the meal, always a good sign. Small jars of wine-colored mums sat between the soup pot and fixings. The house was warm with company and a busy kitchen, but when we opened the French doors, cool air seeped in and reminded us that seasons do in fact change, but at their own pace. All we can do is make soup, hope and wait.


  1. Yay, soup weather! I'm excited for this, too. This week I made a potato soup I saw on The Kitchn ( Holy moly...super rich and yummy.

    Thanks again for the xanthan gum. The bread turned out well and I was able to send some of the extra loaf home w/ Sara. : )

    1. Holy moly is right, that soup looks intense! Potato soup used to be one of my favorites (that's the PA Dutch in me) but I haven't had it since I moved here. Maybe I'll give it a try.:)

      Glad the bread worked out! Let me know if you guys try the xantham gum in a frappaccino.