Oh, HERE we go. Your new favorite healthy chicken soup for the cold months. With flavor out the ying yang.
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.
First, we start by making the chicken broth and cooking the chicken. I used frozen boneless/skinless breasts, but any kind of chicken at all in the world is just fine.
Put the chicken in water, bring it to a boil, cook until the chicken's done, take the chicken out of the water to cool. Boom.
When the chicken is cooled, shred it with forks or your fingers into big pieces.
Then put it back in the cooking liquid!
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.
And chipotle! The canned peppers in sauce pureed or mashed up. We'll get to them in a minute.
For the rice, add the rice, tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and bouillon cube to a little pot with water for cooking - whatever your rice package instructs.
Stir everything together, cover, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cook until done. Glorious! Creamy flavorful rice.
While the rice is cooking, prep all your other ingredients with a quick chop.
So now we just assemble the soup - everyone makes their own exactly how they like it. Start with some rice in a bowl, then ladle over some of the chicken and broth.
To that, add a spoonful or two of the chipotle puree - as much as you can stand, heat-wise.
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
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- 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.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 30
- Serving Size: 4
I am a college aged male and my girlfriend of 3 years and I found this recipe over a year ago and the first time we made it we knew we found something special. We make this recipe together AT LEAST once every other week(which is a lot when you’re in college and used to a diet of ramen and beer). I’ve made this recipe for friends, family, and more and everybody loves it! Instead of using store bought chicken broth we make our own broth by adding our own spices to the water while the chicken is boiling(chicken bouillon cube, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt and pepper) and make double the amount of broth because we like it more liquidy! Pureeing the chipotle peppers is a must so that the flavor can mix the best into the meal. Overall, this recipe is one of my favorite recipes. It is truely an EXPLOSION of flavors. A must try!!
Josh, that is just the nicest thing to say! I totally agree, it's one of those "remember when we made that excellent soup" dishes. I'm so glad you like it!