Monday, January 23, 2012

cozy meals

it's january in NYC. it's cold. and over the weekend we received our first snowfall of the winter! did i mention it is cold? nothing makes me happier in the winter than cooking a hearty, warm, comfy meal. you know the meals that warm you up as you eat them? a meal that goes perfectly with a glass of red wine and a fire. well, then again, in my humble opinion, what doesn't go well with a glass of red wine and a fire? this weekend i cooked soup.

i found this recipe on my new favorite food blog and it's so worth making. who doesn't love mexican, right? and in a soup form? brilliant! it's simple, i had all the ingredients in my fridge and pantry (i made a few adaptations) and it took no time at all. it makes a large batch so fill your tupperware containers and save/freeze for leftovers.

mama says: instead of using russet potatoes as the recipe calls for, i used more butternut squash. (i had plenty of squash as i had planned on making butternut squash soup until i found this recipe.) i also used a can of fire roasted tomatoes, drained of their liquid, that i had in my pantry instead of the tomato sauce.

mama's drink: i know i said a cold winter's night meal is best served with a glass of red wine, but tonight i sipped on a skinnygirl margarita while eating this soup.

The Best Chicken Enchilada Soup

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Serves 8

2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3-4 chicken breasts)
1 (3.5 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
3-4 cups butternut squash cubes (from about 1/2 of a medium butternut squash, peeled and cut)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cans white beans, like Great Northern, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (homemade version here)

In a large pot, add the chicken broth, chicken breasts, green chilies, onion, potatoes, pepper, butternut squash, garlic, salt and cumin. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. If there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid for the vegetables/chicken to boil in, try adding in 1-2 cups water but don’t add too much extra liquid or the soup won’t be as thick as it should.

Remove the chicken from the pot to a cutting board. Let it cool slightly before shredding or dicing. Ladle the remaining vegetables and broth into a blender (in several batches, if needed) and puree the broth and vegetables until smooth. Take care not to overfill the blender since the mixture will be hot and will expand as it blends! Pour the pureed soup mixture back into the large pot. Whisk in the sour cream and tomato sauce. Stir in the taco seasoning, beans and cooked chicken. Cook until heated through.

Serve the soup with additional toppings: tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, pico de gallo or salsa, etc. The options are endless!

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