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Friday, April 12, 2013

Guacamole Soup

It may seem odd to place guacamole in the bottom of a bowl of soup. But it is quite a pleasure to dip your spoon deep into your soup and come up with avocado goodness.



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Guacamole Soup


Adapted from The Good Fat Cookbook  by Fran McCullough
Serves 4

2 (14.5-oz) cans or 1 (32-oz) package low-sodium chicken broth or 2 qts. homemade
2 c water
1/2 onion, sliced thickly
1 garlic clove, smashed
Salt and pepper

1 whole chicken breast, (two chicken breast halves), 12 to 16 ounces, see note below
2 ripe avocados, cut in half
1 jalapeno chile, minced, optional
juice of 1 lime (about 2 T), plus lime wedges for serving
about 1/2 c chopped cilantro leaves

optional garnishes (I use them all but they aren't completely necessary):
4 T  creme fraiche or sour cream or, even better, crema, Mexican soured cream
1/3 c crumbled queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese), optional, see note below
4 corn tortillas cut in strips and fried in small amount of vegetable oil, optional
scallions or chives, sliced thinly, optional

Combine the chicken broth and water in a medium saucepan with the onion, garlic, and a little salt and pepper, and heat. Cut the chicken into 4 pieces and add to the broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then turn down the heat and cook at a slow simmer, partially covered, for about 12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through but still tender (160F on an instant read thermometer). Remove the chicken breast and let cool. Strain the broth.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle shred the meat. Correct the seasoning of the broth.

When ready to serve, reheat the chicken broth until piping hot. Meanwhile, scoop out the flesh from an avocado half and mash it roughly in the bottom of each of the four soup bowls, adding 1/4 of the optional jalapeno. Add salt to taste and a little lime juice; mash well.

Pour the hot broth over the mashed avocado in the soup bowls, divide the shredded chicken among them, and top with cilantro leaves, tortilla strips, scallions, and a spoonful of creme fraiche. If you're using the cheese, scatter it over the top. Serve the soup immediately, with lime wedges on the side.

Notes from Colette:

Chicken: Using boneless, skinless chicken breasts makes for a fast meal but even poaching can leave you with dry and overcooked meat, if you aren't careful. You may substitute chicken thighs for the breasts but it will take longer to cook. Use an instant read thermometer and make sure you've cooked the thigh meat to 165F (according to http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html). Alternatively, you can use left over chicken, or rotisserie chicken.

Cheese: The original recipe suggested substituting feta for queso fresco. I don't advise this because the strong flavor of feta changes the focus of the soup. I think it better to use shredded jack or, as a last resort, sharp cheddar.

We have found that an avocado fresh from the fridge makes the soup unacceptably tepid. I advise microwaving the avocado, once mashed in individual bowls, or heat  the avocado, broth and chicken before adding the garnishes. For a family this may be too many extra steps. In that case, it may work best to mash all the guacamole and heat before placing in soup bowls; then top with hot broth, chicken, and garnishes.

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