Just got back from a quick little road trip -- up and back to Atlanta to see in-laws and friends over a longish weekend. (More about that later... ai yi yi) And while I don't mind car trips, thanks mostly to my iPod touch and torrents of past seasons of America's Next Top Model ("I see six beautiful girls standing before me, but I only have five photos in my hand. And those photos represent the girls who are still in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Model...") I get very tired very quickly of eating all that crap that seems to predominate at roadside exits and near hotels.
Even though I was dead on my feet, it was time for a home cooked meal. And soup was just calling my name. So while I unpacked and caught up on my internet stuff (the in-laws somehow faffed up their wifi connection. Again, more later...) I made a pot of White Chicken Tortilla Soup. Mmmmm. Just the thing for weary travelers. It's good, especially now that the temperatures are slightly less than scalding here... enjoy, y'all.
White Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 (2 1/2 to 3 lb.) chicken, cut up
2 ribs celery, cut into chunks
1 large onion, quartered
2 large carrots, quartered
cluster of parsley, torn
2 T. chicken soup base (I use Vigo brand)
2 large cloves garlic
1 1/2 lb. potatoes, peeled and quartered (to make all one size, basically)
Combine the first seven ingredients in a large stockpot and cover with water by about two inches. Bring to a rapid boil; lower heat to a simmer and cook for about one hour until chicken is tender and falling off the bone.
Strain and reserve the broth. Let chicken cool slightly, then debone and tear meat into small pieces. Set aside.
In four cups of the reserved chicken broth, boil the potatoes until tender. Remove from heat. Do not remove the broth. Mash the potatoes while still in the broth and then add the following:
1 large can creamed corn
1 can black beans, rinsed well
1 (10 oz.) can Ro-Tel tomatoes, crushed
1 1/2 C. cream/half & half
2 to 4 T. minced cilantro
Add enough of the reserved chicken broth to thin out the soup to the desired thickness. Simmer on low for about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning. Be careful of adding too much salt.
Moments before serving, stir in:
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
(note: I use blocks of both cheddar and jack and shred using the food processor. I prefer the consistency of freshly grated cheese better in this, rather than pre-grated store bought)
Reserved cut-up chicken
Continue to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is heated through.
You can serve with corn tortilla strips that have been deep fried. Or just do what I do and crumble some tortilla chips on top -- soooo much easier. A bit of sour cream is also nice as well.