Seeing that it’s such a bitterly cold, blustery day, I thought I would post up my recipe for the Mexican soup I made for dinner last night; It’s not, by any means, super authentic, but rather a mish mash of different techniques, ideas, and a bit of random “sure-I’ll-just-throw-it-in”-ness. I like to think this is a yummy, filling but still light concoction; it also packs in tons of veggies in and is great in this miserable topsy turvy weather. More after the jump…
You’ll need (for 2 people, plus a bit left over for lunch the next day!):
- For the soup
3 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped or grated
a few stalks of celery, chopped
2 chicken breasts
1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
1 small carrot, cut into slices
1/2 litre of chicken stock (I use 1 Knorr cube)
salt and pepper
- For the rice
1/2 cup of rice
1 chicken stock cube
- For the topping
3-4 cherry tomatoes
2-3 spring onions
a bit of chopped or dried coriander
1/2 lime + 1 lime for serving
salt and pepper
I try to start with a prep checklist, to make life easy; chop everything that needs chopping, making sure to keep it all separate (I usually plonk it on different corners of the chopping board). Boil the kettle and make the stock, leaving it hot, but not simmering on a back hob.
To make the rice: Add a bit of olive oil to a saucepan. Once it’s hot, add in the onion and fry until lightly golden. Add the rice and fry it just a tiny bit – let it get coated in the oil. Then break up the stock cube and add that in, making sure no clumps are left (a little water helps here). Once the stock cube is well blended in, add in the requisite amount of boiling water, as per your pack’s instructions (it’s usually just double the rice I think). Let it cook while you do the soup, then drain and set aside (covered). This is rice the way my Mammy cooks it (although Eoghan has now mastered it) and it goes really well with fajitas;
To make the soup: I usually take the healthy (and super lazy) route out and throw the chicken on the George Foreman. I rub some chilli flakes and the juice of half a lime over the the chicken and then pop it into George while I cook the soup. It takes about 15 mins to cook.
For the broth, heat a glug of olive oil in a medium-sized pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, cook until softened, then add in the chilli, carrots, and garlic. After a few minutes, add in the 1/2 litre of stock. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Here, I normally add in about a tablespoon of Dona Theresa’s Chipotles en Adobo, a salsa which can be found at the Dona Theresa stand in Temple Bar’s Meeting House Square on Saturdays. It’s totally not necessary, it just gives it a nice kick. Other potential add ons include: a bit of thyme, some dried cilantro chillies, some mixed Mexican spices… you get the idea! Add the cooked chicken (chopped into bite size bits) and leave on the heat for around five minutes while you mix up the topping.
To make the topping: Just chop up and mix up all the tomatoes and spring onions, add the salt, pepper, coriander and lime juice.
To serve it up: Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the rice into a deep bowl. Ladle in the soup, add a tablespoon of topping, serve with two lime quarters (they really add to it) and an optional Corona.
Taco, Taco, the Mexican stall in the Epicurean Food Hall, Abbey Street, do a brilliant version of this – it’s called Caldo Talpeño and costs just €2.45!