I saw a post a long time ago where the writer was lamenting a bad day when he spent hours making a gorgeous chicken stock and then promptly strained the whole pot of it right down the sink.
It haunts me.
Yesterday, I made stock. As you know, it takes hours to do it right. Not slave over the pot non-stop hours, but a good amount of prep, then simmering, then stripping the chicken meat from the bones, simmering some more, and then straining the stock. It’s a real labor of love.
I put about 3 quarts of stock in the freezer last night and the remaining quart in a bowl in the fridge overnight to use for soup today.
After breakfast this morning, I was prepping to start the soup. Chopped up the veggies and such. Went to get the bowl of stock from the refrigerator and dropped the whole thing on the floor.
Dropped. A. Whole. Quart. Of. Stock. On. The. Floor.
I still can’t believe it happened. I stared at it. I cried. I had to wash my clothes, the rug, and several towels. The dogs enjoyed it.
It’s almost recipe time…
Second half of the tale: “BUT COULD YOU ADD PEPPERS TO IT?“
After some time I went ahead with soup making. Nothing more comforting than a nice big pot of soup. And boy did I need it!
I made a pretty basic chicken, potato, corn soup. Onion, garlic, celery, carrot. Let it simmer for a couple of hours. The whole house smelled amazing. Then my dear husband tasted it. Yummy noises. I noted that he’d probably still want to add hot sauce and he replied, “but … couldn’t you add some jalapenos to it?”.
Thinking aloud, I said “Well, I wouldn’t really do that unless it was, like, a chowder. But I could make this into a corn chowder of sorts with just adding a few things. The other ingredients are mostly the same.” I look over at him the to see this: 😳😲😋🤤
And that’s how I spent the next 15 minutes turning my perfectly lovely chicken soup into a more spicy, Mexican-y version of itself that turned out spectacularly if I do say so myself.
Soup’s On! (Twice…)
The basic ingredients
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 cups of chopped cooked chicken (from a rotisserie or from making the stock)
- 1 can of corn with the juices
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 6 cups of homemade chicken stock
- 2 tsp of dried savory
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
The conversion to chowder
- 2 serano peppers (1 seeded and diced; 1 sliced thinly into rounds
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced thin into short strips
- approx. 2 tbsps of pickled jalapenos, diced + 2 tbsps of the juice from the jar
- 1 green onion thinly sliced
- handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped; plus more for serving
- 2 tbsps of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp of sugar or Stevia
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup of whole milk or half and half
- 1 cup of chopped chicken
- 1 can of corn, drained
- more S & P
In a large soup pot, add a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until softening and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Then add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for another 3 minutes; then add the garlic. Cook two minute more.
Add the wine to the pot and scrape up all the bits stuck to the bottom. Let the wine simmer for about a minute. Then add the chicken, corn (with juice) and stock. Add the savory and salt/pepper to taste. Bring to a rapid simmer and then reduce heat and let barely bubble for as long as you can stand it. The flavors get better and better as it simmers.
Now change it…
In a small skillet add a drizzle of oil over medium heat and then add the diced seranos and the sliced jalapenos. Sear them up. While they sear add the pickled jalapenos, sugar, cumin, granulated garlic, bay leaves, additional chicken, drained corn and milk or half and half to the pot. Once the peppers are seared and getting soft, add them to the pot, as well.
Then stir in half the cilantro leaves, half the sliced green onion and season it all again with salt and pepper. Let simmer again until the chowder slightly thickens, stirring occasionally.
Serve with more cilantro, green onion and the sliced serano pepper rounds on top. Add a dollop of sour cream or some cheese if you like.
The morale of the story is…
The lessons here are to 1) always have plenty of chicken stock on hand so that you can still make soup if you have a horrible, awful, gut-wrenching chicken stock incident 2) a basic chicken soup is delicious as is, but is also pretty easy to convert to something even more yummy if your husband looks at you like this 😳😲😋🤤.
Oh and here’s a link to my chicken stock recipe.
I’m just mad you haven’t been making this for twenty years.Robert Escalante