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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hearty, 1 Hour, Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup

Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup
photo: wbj
For cold winter days, warming comfort food, especially soups and stews, is an easy choice. Soups and stews rank high because they tend to be one pot cooking that is seasonal, healthy, filling, easy and economical. The enveloping aroma of a simmering pot is a bonus.
After seeing racks of dried chiles in the back of NYC supermarkets and bodegas, and stumbling upon Mexican specialty stores, I started playing around with chiles - dried, fresh, smoked, pickled -  to see how the simple addition changed up familiar recipes. A dried Pablano pepper is an ancho chile. The Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup was a by chance combination that I found subtle and smokey with a hint of heat. Best part, this Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup can be in a bowl, ready to eat in nearly 1 hour, from start to finish. Freeze some soup for a fast meal later.

Here's the general details on making Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup.
Base for the soup is a quick, rich, homemade chicken stock.  
Carrot, celery, onion, garlic sauteed. Add 1.5 quart of water (adjust amount if you want). Salt. Black Pepper. Bring to boil. Add 2lbs chicken breast, but thighs, legs work too. Can go skinless, boneless. Lower burner. Cook chicken for 25 minutes. When you remove the chicken, homemade chicken stock complete.
While chicken cooks, add 1 large Ancho chile. Few ways to to do this. Me: Remove stem and seeds, discard; throw chile in pot. 
Options: Remove stem;your choice on seeds; throw in food process; make coarse powder. Steam and soften in small pot;remove skin; dice, or puree chile in processor. Add to stock. Season to your taste. Add dash of cumin; dried herbs, fresh parsley, fresh herbs, do your thing. Try curry in place of cumin.
Keep an eye on the clock. Remove cooked chicken from pot; set aside to cool.
To chicken stock add, chick peas (1 can- drained and rinsed), 1/2 cup diced tomato, more fresh parsley and/or other herbs. I added some fresh chives because they were in the fridge. Optional: 1/2 cup rice (I used black rice); diced potatoes, corn...get creative;have some fun.
Remove the skin first if not skinless. Shred, cube, slice or chop the cooked chicken. Return chicken to pot. Cook on low heat for about 25 minutes. All done. Clocking approximately 1hr 10 minutes total time for an one pot meal with 6 servings. Remember to freeze a portion or two. This is a favorite after workout meal.
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