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Chicken Tortilla Soup “Mariana Style”

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'`Yes,-more-please!

In this global world we are living, what is authentic anyway?…

I think as I get to know more people from different backgrounds, cities, expatriates, cultures, beliefs, culinary eccentrics, purist, creators; the more I conclude that authenticity is not a place, a language, a heritage, a culture, or a belief.
I think authenticity comes from within. Who you are at this right moment, in this place and at this time; and the one that you want to become…. that’s authenticity for me.

It reminds me of a monolog phrase in the movie “All about my mother” from Almodovar’s
and one of the characters in the movie quotes the following:
“… because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being” – “La Agrado’s” monologue (All About My Mother) Almodovar.

And you are wondering what does this has to do with tortilla soup?,
In the culinary world, I’ve always questioned myself about  what is considered an authentic dish? Perhaps it is the dish that resembles more to the people who created it?
For example, If you are from Mexico; is the soup that your grandma prepares more authentic, than my grandma’s soup?.. No, I really don’t think so.
I believe you embrace the flavors that make you happy and satisfy, that make you re- create a memory a flavor, an aroma and you create the soup you want to eat and share with your loved ones… It will be hard to imagine Mexican grandmas cooking for the authenticity sake! I believe you can cook along the way with tradition and make it your own with a few touches.

In this Chicken Tortilla Soup, I wanted to evoke the aromas, textures, flavors, freshness, from the cooking style in Guadalajara, Jalisco the city I’m originally from. This soup re-creates a little memory of my home city, easy on the condiments and full of flavor…
I hope you like the soup as much as I do. So let’s cook!. Enjoy.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'ingredients

Chicken Tortilla Soup “Mariana Style”

Serves 4-6

For the chicken stock:

1 whole chicken 3.5-4 lbs. I’m in love with the chickens from Smith & Smith Farms
1 medium size with onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 roma tomato
1 head of garlic
3-4 sprigs of thyme
2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano
1 teaspoon dry epazote or mint
1 tablespoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 ears of corn- cut the corn of the cob
(my preference is white corn if I can find it, but yellow is ok too)

For the sauce:

2-3 dry Pasilla chiles slightly toasted
4-6 dry Guajillo chiles slightly toasted
1-2 dry Arbol Chiles slightly toasted
4 Roma tomatoes
¼ piece of onion
1 garlic clove
4 tablespoons of corn or sunflower Oil
Salt and pepper.

4-5 cups Chicken stock previously made… or the best option you have available.

Garnish with

8-10 Corn Tortillas cut into 1/2-1/4” wide strips.
½ to ¾ cup Canola Oil

1 ripe avocado, cut in slices or cubes
1 cup queso fresco crumbled
½ cup Mexican style crema or Creme fraiche
½ cup diced onion
2-3 Limes
2-4 dry Arbol Chiles toasted with a little bit of oil, until they look dark. (see photo below)

 

Preparation:

1. Start by preparing your chicken stock on a 7-8 qt pot. Place the whole chicken and add all the stock ingredients, add water enough to cover the chicken. Bring to boil and then lower down the heat to a slow simmer cover with a lid and cook for about 45 minutes.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'

2. Mean time slightly toast your chillies on a pan, small comal or cast iron pan.
3. In a small pot boil the toasted chillies and the tomatoes.
4. Once they are soft, place the chillies, tomatoes, onion & garlic into a blender or food processor and puree.
5. Using a strainer, strain the chilli puree to eliminate the seeds and pieces of skin. (see picture below)

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'how-to-make-the-broth

6. Cut and Fry the tortilla strips. Once fried place them on a plate with a paper towel to remove the oil excess. Sprinkle with salt while they’re warm.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-frying-tortilla-strips
7. Check on your chicken stock, the broth should look translucent, no foam on the top, vegetables soft and onion translucent, chicken fork tender. If it is done remove at least 4 cups of chicken stock and strain. Take out the chicken, place it on a bowl and cover with some aluminum foil wait a bit until ready to handle, remove the skin and shred the chicken.
I usually use about ½ a chicken to serve 4. you can save the rest for tomorrow’s enchiladas…hehehe
8. In a medium size pot add 4 tablespoon of canola, or sunflower oil, once is rippling hot add your chilli-tomato puree, and cook the sauce in medium low for about 4-5 minutes.
9. Add chicken stock, and corn kernels season with salt and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
10. Taste the soup for salt and paper.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'_making-the-soup

11. Chop and prepare your garnishes

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'-Garnishes
12. Serve on a deep bowl place the shredded chicken 2 to 3 ladles of the chilli broth place a good handful of the fried tortilla strips, and garnish with the cream, crumble cheese, avocados, and some of the chile de arbol fresh or toasted with a little oil for more heat.

 

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-close-up

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-bowl~yes,-more-please!

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-ready-to-eat~yes,-more-please!

ENJOY!!!

Smith&smith-chicken I’m in love with the chickens from Smith & Smith Farms, it is a small family operated farm, they specialize in  pasture raised meats that are hormone and antibiotic free. They  raise Dorper Lambs, all different breeds of laying hens, Cornish Rock meat chickens, Red wattle hogs, and Broad Breasted White Turkeys. All of the animals on their farm are free range and roam around every where! They are all as happy as can be, and you can taste the happines when you cook them. Delicious!

If you live in Austin, check their website for hours and farmers markets locations at: http://smithandsmithfarms.webs.com

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Hibiscus-Orange Glazed Cornish Hens

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_aromatics-for-the-recipe_01

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_Bay-and-Sage

Have you ever tried hibiscus?… hibiscus is a flower from a tall plant that when dried makes the most fabulous aromatic and vitamin C loaded tea or cold beverage. It is one of my favorite ingredients.
I’m from Mexico and Hibiscus is called “Jamaica” and it is pronounced Ha-my-cah, not to get it confused with the Island. Hibiscus is used in many different preparations, the most common is to prepare “agua fresca”flavored water. Jamaica it is very floral and refreshing, its our natural instant beverage.
It is also used in candy making in Mexico on the Chapala Lake Riviera, in Jalisco. There they make delicious sweet and tart hard candy pieces. If I was to describe the hibiscus flavor, it resembles a little to cranberry. The difference: Hibiscus has this floral notes that makes it so remarkable.

I was thinking of a little spin on Thanksgiving for people who find cranberry too tart so I thought of Jamaica. Then, what to do besides agua fresca and candy? Chutney?.. no… Glaze!

Oh yes I experimented last week glazing some Cornish Hens and it tastes  delicious. My original thought was to glaze some quail, but I look for a good source of quail here in Austin and I was with out luck… so I cooked Cornish Hens…and what a treat!
The results?… Well  you have to try it. It’s floral, tart, sweet and I added a hint of orange zest, and ancho powder to give a little spicy kick….Ian loved it!.. and yes I liked it too.. I definitely want to share the recipe with you, let me know what you think!
Try it with Quail if you or some soul around reading this can find some. I think it will be wonderful and if not it’s great on Cornish Hen! And if you are already a Hibiscus Lover, try our recipe  Martini dos Flores… you will fall in love with it! http://yes-moreplease.com/2013/08/martini-dos-flores/

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_with-herb-orange-Farro

Hibiscus-Orange Glazed Cornish Hens

Serves 2-4

2 cornish Hens, about 18 to 22 oz each
4 sage leaves
4 bay leaf
Sea salt and black pepper

Directions:

To roast the perfect cornish hens, I always follow the following steps:

1. Bring the Cornish Hens to room temperature. Take them out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before start cooking.
2. Preheat the Oven at 450 F/ 232 C – cook at 425 F/ 218 C
3. Using paper towels pat dry the hens. Salt, pepper and add 2 bay leaves and 2 sage leaves to each bird cavity.
4. Truss the birds, ensuring legs are tight and the tips of wings are behind the body just like if the bird is taking a nap in the sun. Trussing the Cornish Hens make a more even mass, so they cook more evenly.
5. Place them on a baking sheet or a heavy bottom roasting pan and roast for 30-25 minutes until a meat thermometer, inserted in between the breast and thigh reads 165 F/ 70 C anf juices run clear. 0While the hens are in the oven, make the glaze.

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_out-of-the-oven

Hibiscus-Orange Glaze

The first time I made this dish I tried to make the glaze using the Cornish Hens drippings from the pan and de-glaze de pan like when you are making a gravy. I did not like this, the delicate floral flavors from the hibiscus were masked by the chicken fat so I made the glaze separate to keep the floral notes alive.

1 cup dry Hibiscus flowers
the zest of ½ medium size valencia orange
½ cone piloncillo, grated
1 aromatic clove
1 chile de arbol
1 teaspoon ancho powder
4-6 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon of butter
pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Steep 1 cup dry hibiscus flowers in about 1 ½ cups of simmering water for about 8-10 minutes.
    In a small sauce pan add the concentrated hibiscus tea, piloncillo, clove, chile de arbol, ancho chili powder, orange zest, and thyme. Bring to a slow simmer, simmer for 4-6 minutes.
  2. Remove the sprigs of thyme clove and chilies. Bring the glaze to a rapid simmer stir constantly, until the glaze is reduced by half. Check the consistency by dipping a spoon into the glaze and running your finger tip across. If the line stays put, your glaze is ready (see picture below). At this point add 1 tablespoon of butter until melted and well incorporated, set aside.
  3. Check cornish Hens at 35 minutes. If the thermometer reads 160F/70C start glazing.
    Use a pastry brush or a rubber brush to varnish them. Apply 1 coat and keep baking for about 2 minutes, apply 2 or 3 glaze coats in total. If necessary turn on the broil on the oven and broil for 1 minute for a shiny glaze finish.7. Check temperature until reads 165F/74C and juices run clear.
    Remove from the oven and let them rest for 10-12 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve over a bed of herbed farro or buttery rice, recipe follows…

    Quick herb-orange farro

    Serves 2

    ½ cup farro perlato
    2 cups water or chicken stock
    ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
    1 teaspoon orange zest
    1 tablespoon butter (or you can use some of the chicken fat from the roasting pan)
    salt & pepper to taste.

    In a small sauce pan, bring water to boil and add farro. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
    Cook for about 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness. It usually takes 30-35 to be al dente,
    at this point add butter, chopped parsley, orange zest, salt and pepper. Toss well, remove from heat and cover with a lid for 5 minutes. Serve warm.
    Note: I love farro done this way, I like it a little al dente, not too mushy, and I like to add the herbs, at the end to keep the flavors fresh and colors vibrant.

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_hibiscus-glaze-consistency

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_roasted-cornish-hens_glazing-the-roasted-cornish-hens

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_Yes,-more-please!

Enjoy!

Music pairing: Sabor a mi, by Lila Down

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