Last year around this time our neighbors Scott and Belen were bringing home their brand new baby boy from the hospital (happy birthday Teo!), and Belen's mom, Lydia, was here for several weeks to help with baby and get to know her grandson.
She also cooked. The woman cooked a lot. Since there were only three of them in the house Jay and I were the lucky recipients of SO MUCH authentic Mexican food this time last year, and it never lasted in our fridge very long - my dad actually just asked about Lydia and her salsa the other day! This soup was one of the things that Belen and her mom made while Lydia was here and brought to us on a particularly cold day. Scott and Belen and Teo have since moved back West and we miss them terribly, but LUCKILY I have texts upon texts of Mexican cooking tips and tricks, including THIS recipe, which I am now sharing with you and insisting that you learn to make this very instant.
It's cool - the chicken is cooked in water, and that's the soup. Then you make rice separately, stir in chipotle peppers for flavor, add a bunch of raw fresh stuff, and end up with one of the most flavorful dinners of your damn life. The combo of heavily cooked chicken and rice with the hyper-fresh toppings and garnishes is hugely appealing, and I just can't stop won't stop with this stuff. Also. It's dairy and gluten free if you care. Or you could add tortilla strips and cheese and make it dairy and gluten-full? Maybe that's the direction we should go.
While that's going on, grab your ingredients for the rice and the rest of the soup. Rice (this is brown rice in a bag that I cut out of said bag), onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, tomato sauce, a chicken bouillon cube, an avocado, lime, cilantro, onion, tomato.
Then top. Top so hard you can't handle it. I put EVERYTHING on my bowl, but you can of course add and subtract based on your favorites. The key is to end with lime squeezed all over everything and die a thousand happy deaths.
It's just....great, friends. I can't describe to you the great flavor combo that happens with the creamy rice, spicy broth, sweet avocado, tangy lime....just ugh. It's perfect for year-round, too! Holidays when you want to have just one effing lighter meal, January when you're losing 30 pounds of baby weight (casserole weight for you?), summer when it's raining and cooler but you still want something fresh....I can't think of when this wouldn't be just the perfect meal.
Make it soon, and REJOICE.
Tlapeno - Mexican Chicken Rice Soup
- FOR THE SOUP
- 2 large chicken breasts frozen or thawed
- 8 cups water
- FOR THE RICE
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1 can 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- FOR TOPPING
- pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- chopped raw onion
- diced raw tomato
- diced avocado
- chopped cilantro leaves
- lime wedges
- For the broth, place the chicken in the water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and boil gently for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the cooking liquid, shred with two forks, then return to the broth.
- For the rice, combine all ingredients in a pot with a lid with water for cooking per the package instructions. Cover the rice and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Taste, and add salt to your preference.
- To serve, spoon some rice in a bowl. Top with chicken, broth, and a spoonful of pureed chipotle - as much as you'd like for spice and flavor! Stir together to mix the peppers into the soup.
- Top the soup with any of the garnishes that you like, and squeeze lime juice over the whole thing before eating. Enjoy!
- You can use any kind of chicken you want - boneless, not, skinless, not, etc. Boil it as per the instructions until fully cooked, then just remove any skin/fat/bones before shredding and returning to the broth.
- For the rice, if you don't have chicken bouillon, sub chicken stock for the water to cook the rice.