King Ranch Chicken Soup
I’m a northern girl, but my ex-husband is from Texas. Many, many years ago when we lived a lot further south than we do now, he mentioned King Ranch Chicken to me, I think hoping that I would make it for him. I did look up the recipe and thought it looked good, but not very healthy, so I passed it on by and went on my merry way. It’s quite a popular casserole in Texas, I hear.
Fast forward to several years later when I ran across a recipe for King Ranch Chicken Soup. That sounded a bit more appealing (and maybe a little healthier?), so I perused the recipe, sent it to my ex, and left it at that. This is how recipes flow sometimes — they peek in at different points in my life, curious whether I’m ready to try them yet. Well, I wasn’t quite ready for King Ranch Chicken Soup at that point in my life either.
But then we had a little soup/stew cookoff last Friday at work. I pondered for hours and perused many, many, many soup recipes before I ran across this one again. King Ranch Chicken Soup. Hmm … maybe it’s time. Do I have any green chiles? I searched my freezer, but none turned up on the first search. I looked through more soup recipes. King Ranch Chicken Soup turned up again. Okay, there have GOT to be some green chiles in my freezer! We used to make road trips to NM and bring an entire cooler along just to fill it with green chile. I searched again and this time I found some, re-packaged from the original (rather large) Hatch Green Chile container into a cottage cheese container, but labeled with a blue sharpie “Green chile”. I opened it and gave it a whiff … yep, they were definitely authentic New Mexico Hatch green chiles.
I looked at a couple King Ranch Chicken soup recipes before I started, but decided to make my own version, a little healthier, using Greek cream cheese and real sharp cheddar in place of the Velveeta. I had made some chicken stock the week before so I threw all of that in, hoping it would be enough. My crockpot was full to the brim when I filled it on Friday morning for the cookoff, but it was the first soup emptied when the “tastings” were over and the guys had permission to take a bowl full of soup. Luckily, I heard them talking about my soup and had snuck in and poured a little into a jar and hid it away so I’d have some for the photos before open season was called on the soups, or I wouldn’t be sharing this with you now. Here it is: King Ranch Chicken Soup, probably a good 20 years after it first tentatively poked its little recipe tendrils into my life. I really don’t know why I waited so long to make it. It’s amazing!
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 - 4 chicken breasts (depending on how "meaty" you want your soup--I used 2), chopped into chunks
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled & chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 - 3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 carrot, peeled & chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper (mini sweet pepper or bell pepper)
- 4 Tablespoons flour or tapioca flour (I used tapioca flour)
- 2 quarts chicken broth (use less broth if you want a thicker soup)
- 1 cup Hatch green chiles (frozen, thawed, with juices)
- 1 pint jar (or 15-oz can) of fire roasted tomatoes, with juices
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 8-oz. package Greek cream cheese (or Neufchatel), softened
- 1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1/2 avocado, chopped
- juice of 1/2 lime
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat a nonstick soup pot over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil, then the chicken. Stir and cook until the chicken is cooked. Remove from heat and set the chicken aside.
- Add the rest of the oil, onion, garlic, celery and carrot to the soup pot. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onion is very soft and translucent. Add the sweet pepper and saute a few minutes longer. Stir in the flour to coat the veggies, then add the broth, green chiles, tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Put a couple cups of this hot broth in a blender (straining off some of the liquid to get more veggies than broth), add the cream cheese and cheddar and blend until smooth. Stir the cream cheese mixture back into the soup, add the chicken and cook for 5 - 10 minutes longer.
- In a small bowl, mix together the onion, tomato, and avocado with the lime juice and some chopped cilantro leaves.
- Garnish the hot soup with tortilla strips (or crushed tortilla chips), the confetti, a bit more shredded cheese and some more fresh cilantro leaves.
You can use canned green chile in place of frozen, but you may want to add some chopped jalapeno to give the soup a little heat. You can also use fresh Hatch green chile, but I would recommend roasting and peeling it first, like they do in New Mexico.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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This recipe was shared at Munching Monday, Treasure Box Tuesday, Simple Supper Tuesday, Tuesday’s Table, The Wednesday Roundup, Wine’d Down Wednesday, Foodie Friends Friday, Food on Fridays,Weekend Potluck, Moonlight & Mason Jars and Hearth & Soul Bloghop.