Mexican Chicken Soup with Ancho Chiles & A Cocky Rooster

Mexican Chicken Soup with Ancho Chiles & A Cocky Rooster
dsc_0492.jpg

I must be in some Mexican mood because here is another Mexican meal.

Mexican Chicken Soup with Ancho Chiles! holy yum.

Here we are, September 20, and the weather is starting to cool down, the leaves are still green, but I can sense their imminent change - it will happen!

So in the meantime, I am going to do everything in my power to make it seem like it is fall. Puffy down vests? Hello. Flannel shirts? Hello. Scarves? Hello. Pumpkin spice lattes? Hello. SOUPS? Hello. I pretty much want to make every waking second of every waking day fall. I. love. fall. (Not like you couldn't have already figured that out...)

I decided last-minute yesterday that I wanted to make a blog-worthy meal. Talk about last-minute planning. Oh, did I mention that I had to work all day too? So on my 10 minute break at Starbucks I pulled out my iPhone and started searching recipes. I knew that there were a few chicken breasts sitting in the refrigerator at home, so I pulled up my Whole Foods app where you can enter the ingredients that you have on hand.

Chicken and Brown Rice Soup - NO
Chicken with Le Gruyére, Sage and Easy Pan Sauce - NO
Baked Chicken with Spinach, Pears and Blue Cheese - NO
Mexican Chicken Soup with Ancho Chiles.....YES!

My local grocery store unfortunately did not have dried ancho chiles, lame sauce. So, I talked with one of the workers and he said that I could use regular dried chile peppers. I will give you one warning as you go to make the chile/water purée. Do NOT even think about smelling it. Your insides will flip upside down and then immediately begin working their way up your esophagus. I had a coughing fit. My mom almost threw up. The smell is potent. Just trust me.

I would suggest cutting the chicken breasts into cubes. It will make eating the soup a lot easier. Strips was a little complicated. I found myself using a fork and spoon to try to rip apart the chicken into bite sized pieces.

What made this recipe was the toppings. Cilantro. Avocado. Feta Cheese. HOLY. YUM! The soup and broth were delicious, but the added toppings made the flavors pop that much more, especially the cilantro. Don't be afraid to load on the toppings!

I found the recipe for the Cocky Rooster a few months ago in a copy of GQ. I have been itching to try it ever since. The recipe is an Asian twist on the classic michelada recipe. If you can't find "33" Export beer, trying paying homage to the Mexican recipe and use Tecate or Sol.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: This cocktail has a major bite to it! My mother took a sip of it and began crying. "I feel like I have ulcers!" she yelled! Here is my advice..start small. Do NOT add several generous squeezes of Sriracha. Start out with one light squeeze. You can always add more if you want. Chances are, if you do not like spicy things, this is not the drink for you. If you like sweating profusely and torturing yourself with the delicious spice and kick of all things hot, I found the drink for you! I have always enjoyed spicy things - I grew up with a father who would rip open jalapeño peppers with his bare hands, eat them raw, and then wipe his tears with his jalapeño juice soaked fingers. It's in my blood...

There are a lot of great posts coming up for SMAK. I am having another dinner party next week with Angie (who helped out with La Noche de España) - we will be paying homage to my favorite NYC restaurants, Momofuku. Expect lots of Asian dishes! Also, don't forget - we still have A Few of My Favorites September 2012 coming! So keep your eyes open!

Mexican Chicken Soup with Ancho Chiles
Serves 4

2 to 3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
2 carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste
1 (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with their liquid
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small strips
salt and pepper to taste
chopped cilantro
crumbled feta or grated Monterey Jack cheese
tortilla chips
diced avocados
lime wedges

Put chiles into a medium heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside to let soak until softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer chiles and about 1/2 cup of their soaking liquid to a blender and puree, adding more of the soaking liquid, if needed, to make a smooth, thin paste. Set aside.

Put broth into a large pot and bring just to a boil. Add carrots, garlic, tomatoes and 2 to 3 tablespoons fo the reserved chile puree and simmer until carrots are almost tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add chicken and let simmer over low heat until cooked through.

Remove soup from heat, season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with cilantro, cheese, tortilla chips, avocados, and lime wedges.

Cocky Rooster
Makes one cocktail

1 lime wedge
Kosher salt
1 oz. lime juice
Several generous squeezes of Sriracha
3 dashes Maggi sauce
2 jalapeño slices
1 bottle "33" Export beer

Rub the rim of a pint glass with the lime wedge, then coat the rim in kosher salt. Fill the glass with ice and add lime juice, Sriracha, Maggi, and jalapeño. Add beer and garnish with wedge.