Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Power To The Pantry!

Our pantry is important. It doubles as both a food pantry and storage area for what normally lives in “modern” kitchen cabinets. But we don’t have kitchen cabinets - modern or otherwise. We do have a closet in the dining room where all our dishes and glassware live. And we’ve got the pantry. It’s an old house, with an even older kitchen, which is part of the original building. Another reason our pantry has to work extra hard is the fact we live about 25 minutes from the nearest big supermarket. There is a small grocery store and a convenience store nearby where we can purchase any basics we run out of. But when we grocery shop, we tend to stock up.

So it’s not unusual to find me standing in our pantry, just before dinnertime, staring intently at the contents of the shelves. As a result of this intense staring (and being snowed in from time to time) I have created a number of “pantry only” meals. One of them is Mexican Soup, which is also known as Chicken Tortilla Soup. I first started making it many years ago after the craving for Tortilla Soup from the original Miguel’s Restaurant in Bar Harbor, Maine became irresistible. I’ve made it many different ways, but the following is the “pantry only” version - well, except for the cheese!

Lee’s Wicked Easy Mexican Soup

Olive oil
chopped onions
crushed garlic
Old El Paso Chopped green chiles, 7 oz
Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes, 28 oz
Chicken Broth, 14 0z
Beef Broth (OR Veggie broth), 14 oz
Goya Black Beans - rinsed, 15 oz
Kuner’s Refried Black Beans with Lime Juice, 15 oz
Dried Cumin
Mexican Style Chili Powder
Chipotle Powder
Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
Cocoa Powder (adds a nice depth of flavor)
Pinch of Sugar
Trader Joe’s Premium Chunk Chicken, 12 oz (lightly shredded with a fork)

Tortilla chips
Shredded Mexican cheese (Sargento’s is good)

Start the onions, garlic and olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Once the onions have softened, add the remaining canned ingredients, except the chicken. Allow the ingredients to simmer, stirring periodically to keep the beans from settling on the bottom of the pot. Taste the soup and begin adding the seasonings according to taste. Once you have the soup seasoned properly, go ahead and add the chicken and continue to let the soup simmer.

In soup bowls, lightly crush a few tortilla chips. Sprinkle some shredded cheese onto the chips. Ladle the soup over the chips and cheese and serve immediately.

This makes a substantial pot of soup. But it freezes beautifully.


dancingmorganmouse said...

Oooo, sounds like a good emergency soup. We keep our dishes and whatnot in a cupboard in the dining room, and excess plates and glasswear in a sort of hutch thing, also in the dining room. We have no pantry and a very, very small, narrow kitchen.

Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy.. I llluuuuuurve soup - I'll just leave those pesky beans out!! Ronnie xx

Irene said...

This one's a keeper! I think I'm going to make it this weekend.

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
It's a very good emergency soup.
I see we have quite a bit in common when it comes to the geography of our homes - lots of adaptation!
- Lee

Hi Ronnie -
It is yummy. We love beans - especially black beans. But without the refried beans, you'll need to go a bit heavier on the seasoning and it will be more brothy - but still good!
- Lee

Hi Irene -
I hope you enjoy it!
If you are able to find the Kuner's they have terrific flavor. Occasionally they can be a bit salty, that's why I don't add any salt and hold off seasoning until most of the canned items are simmering away.
- Lee

Sue said...

Already printed off! That sounds divine!

Sue x

Pink Granite said...

Hi Sue -
It's a very flexible and forgiving soup. I'm sure you'll enjoy your own interpretation of it!
- Lee