Chipotle Chicken Soup

What do you do when you unexpectedly end up with a Costco box of tomatoes? When you have a soup blog and a crowd of people for whom you make soup (and chips, salsa and margaritas) every Friday evening (click here for more info), you decide to make those tomatoes into soup!

This is a great recipe from a somewhat unexpected place, my trusty old Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. I wish I remembered who had given me this cookbook or when. I just know that I’ve had it since about the time I graduated from college and I used it for a lot of basic recipes and instructions when I was learning to cook. It’s got all the basics, and every once in a while, I happen upon a gem like this light and tasty Chipotle Chicken Soup.

I’m going to give you the original recipe, which states that it makes about 3 servings, but I didn’t follow the recipe closely and I multiplied it to feed a crowd. One of the great things about soup is that you just sort of heap things together until it looks and tastes right (as opposed to baking, where it’s all about precision to the 1/8 tsp). What I did to make this soup is I got a rotisserie chicken from Costco; I pulled off the meat and cut it into soup-sized chunks, and then I used the skin and bones and juices to make a crockpot full of chicken stock. I simmered the stock (bones etc, a handful of baby carrots, an onion, and a few pinches of thyme, sage, garlic, pepper and celery seed) for about 6 hours and then strained it directly into the soup pot, where I’d already sauteed onions and garlic. I threw in the chicken and chipotles, sugar and salt, and simmered it all for about 30 minutes, then stirred in the tomatoes and cilantro and served it. Really, it couldn’t be more simple.

Chipotle Chicken Soup
from the Better HomesĀ  & Gardens Cookbook

1 c chopped onion (1 large)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce [Molly’s note: you might start with 1 tsp and add more to taste if you are concerned about spice; I find these chipotles to be a bit unpredictable in terms of heat level.]
1/2 tsp sugar
2 cups chopped tomatoes (2 large) or one 14.5 oz can low-sodium diced tomatoes, undrained [go ahead and use the fresh ones; it really makes the soup!]
1/4 c snipped fresh cilantro

Directions

In a Dutch oven cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat about 4 minutes or until tender. Add chicken; cook and stir for 2 minutes or more. Stir in broth, chipotle peppers, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in tomatoes and cilantro.