On any given rainy day you have two options: 1. Transition from your bed to your couch around lunch time, stay in your pajamas and watch outdated DVD’s borrowed from the town library all day, or 2. Spend a few hours flipping through whatever cook book your mom has laying around the house, decide on a recipe or two, gather the ingredients and start cookin’. Well, those are my options anyway…
Rainy days on Cape Cod in May and June are much more frequent than I’d like. I typically spend as much time as possible on the deserted beaches with my book and a sweatshirt, shivering only for a moment when the sun hides behind the fleeting clouds. But when those clouds are too stubborn to quickly pass by and they spread themselves low and thick above Nauset Light Beach all the way across town to First Encounter Beach, I’m left with 2 options, movie marathon or new recipe. Luckily for me (or not, depending on how you look at it), there are usually enough rainy days in the week for me to do a little bit of both.
Today’s cloudy day, culinary challenge: Chicken Tortilla soup, one of my all time favorites. My mom makes a delicious (and healthy!) homemade tortilla soup but she’s the kind of chef who doesn’t necessarily need cook books or measuring cups. She’ll take a look in the cabinet, grab a few cans or a couple of boxes, open the fridge, take what ever is left over from last night’s dinner, mix it all together on the stove and just like that, a few seemingly random ingredients become dinner. For these reasons, recreating mom’s Chicken Tortilla Soup was a little bit of a challenge. Taking a variety of instructions from a few different Pinterest recipes (and of course a few phone calls), I came up with a concoction of my own that sounded like it would turn out tasting pretty similar to moms.
Here’s what I came up with…
- 1.5 chicken breast, diced
- 1 green pepper
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 japeleno pepper
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 cup of frozen corn
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1/3 of a jar of leftover salsa from the fridge
- 1 can of chicken brother
- 1 cup of water
- a few shakes of cumin
- a dash of chili powder
- salt and pepper
In a large pot on the stove I drizzled some olive oil and let the garlic, onion, peppers, chicken and seasonings blend together. After a short time, I added the corn, still frozen, the black beans and the diced tomatoes. I let that sit on low heat for about 30 minutes.
Before adding the chicken broth and water, I took a little bike ride. The sun had made an unexpected appearance and looked like it may only be sticking around for a short while so I wanted to soak up as much as possible while I had the chance. This step of course is optional, just don’t forget to switch the burner off!
Upon my return, I reheated the mixture of vegetables and added the chicken broth and water. I let simmer for the remainder of the afternoon, about 5 hours and soon enough, I had homemade chicken tortilla soup for dinner!
With a handful of multigrain corn chips and a sprinkle of reduced fat pepper jack cheese, it didn’t look or taste exactly like my moms but every bite was loaded with vegetables, chicken and a unique flavor of my own. As my great grandmother Nonny would say, it certainly did “come good! “.