BROTH: So, two fatty cheap hind quaters of chicken (frozen), tossed in a pot with tumeric (yellow color), half an onion that was skulking in the back of the fridge, healthy amount of oregano, some dried green chile flakes we had hanging around, black pepper, and some slices of two cloves of garlic. I salt my broth mostly because otherwise you get blah poached meat and blah broth. Yeah, concentration could make it too salty, but _deconcentration_ of the broth can undo it. Also, I'm a salt fiend. And a vinegar fiend. That's another story. This broth recipe is really simple. A psuedo oriental version is to use ginger, lemon grass (if you've got some rattling around,) tumeric, and onion. The tumeric adds the familiar yellow color and a nifty depth. The onion helps cut the fatty taste of the chicken.
Rummaged in the fridge and found some frozen green chile (chopped extra hot, and whole mediums). Took about a half cup of extra hot (counting the liquid) and three of the medium guys. That'd map out to about four poblanos. If you're afraid of the heat, try using black pepper instead and ignore my mutterings about you not knowing the beauty of peppers. Jalepenos tend to not have the richness of flavor that I get in poblanos or New Mexico green chile, so I'd toss an ancho (those other dark green peppers you see in the stores) in. Take the peppers and de seed, de rib, and behead them. If they're raw, fry in a pan. Mine were pre cooked thanks to the roasting, and de skinned.
Rummaged in the pantry and found a can of Muir Glen organic tomatoes. I found them to be a bit pasty and blah, but this can had been running around for about a half year, so its time had come. Opened it up, plopped about half of it in the blender with the peppers. Added two squished cloves of garlic and two cloves of roasted garlic that were sitting in the freezer. (You can roast garlic by tossing it in a pan. It's not the same as a long slow oven roast, but it works. I didn't really notice the roasted flavor in the finished dish, but I think it helped.) Whirled the mess in the blender. It was now sort of sludgy and pink. It tasted good though.
Pulled out some of the broth, leaving the chicken behind for poached chicken, and poured the blender mess in another pot. I think it was about two cups of blender goo to about three parts broth. One blop of broth was used to wash out the blender. A food mill or emersion blender (or cream) could've made things creamier. I didn't care. Sliced some bread, toasted it in the oven since it was a bit floopy, and seasoned it with garlic flavored olive oil (spare clove of garlic, olive oil, pinch of chile powder, pinch of le generic italian seasonings) and sprinkled with blue cheese and parmeson. Made a fast salad by attacking some lettuce and then making toppings out of leftover blue cheese, toasted pine nuts, and chopped sexy fresh tomatoes. Avocado was also chopped and lime juiced. Melted the cheese on the bread at the last minute and served.
So - how was it? Well, the soup _tasted_ good. It was a bit too hot (not in an inedible way) from the peppers, but sour cream helped. It looked sort of a pale red with flecks in it, and probably would've been better for a pass through a food mill or some other more enthusiastic blender. Texture was not unlike potato soup. Not creamy smooth, but a little bit of bits in it. Could've stood for some lime in it. The toasted bread was lovely for dipping in the soup, but not _required_ for the final effect. The pine nuts, on the other hand, added a much needed crunch, and the avocado added a bit of sour and color.
Other options, forget about the salad and bread. Take some tortillas, slice them, toss in a bit of oil and pop in the oven to crisp. Or, toast pine nuts. Serve the soup with some sort of meat (like, oh, the poached chicken, de boned , and heavily limed) and maybe finely chopped cilantro for green. Sour cream or yogurt'd also be nice.
If you don't use the blender, you've got the start of a classic tortilla soup.