Happy almost-right-before-Thanksgiving Day! For those of you who might be throwing Thanksgiving or having family visitors, you’re dealing with a dilemma. You’re focused on all the Turkey Day cooking and, OHCRAP, you have people to feed even before that big cooking day comes! Never mind that you’re planning Thanksgiving for your vegetarian/omnivore/gluten-free/lactose intolerant/low fat/paleo/frutarian/dessertarian friends, you ALSO have to think about how to feed them in the days BEFORE Thanksgiving! What to do!?
Not to worry – I’ve created an easy, crowd pleasing, low-maintenance, and delicious soup that’s easy to modify to different dietary needs. It’s also a complete meal that doesn’t take up much high-valued real estate in your fridge, can be pre-made and reheated in a snap. What more could you ask for in a pre-Thanksgiving, in-law feeding meal?! Excited? Me too…on to the recipe!
Adobo Chicken Tortilla Soup
This recipe is an easy and delicious soup recipe that is a complete meal on its own and can be modified to dietary needs. Below I’ve flexed my Finance talents to create a chart for dietary adjustments and included instructions on how to roast your own chicken.
You can pick any version of the recipe depending on your family’s dietary needs. You can also opt to leave certain ingredients out and allow people to add at the end. For example, I’m Paleo, so I left out the corn and beans and left a little bowl of them for my family to add later. The directions below have steps that are coded by which version you use (E) Easy, (P) Paleo/Gluten Free, (V) Vegegarian, (A) All. It sounds complicated, but it’s not! Pick a letter and just focus on ingredients and steps with that letter. It’s sort of like a nerdy “Choose Your Own Adventure” cooking lesson.
See above photo for adobo sauce. Find it in the Hispanic cooking section of your grocery store. It can be found in a can by itself, but you’re looking for the chipotle peppers that are in adobo sauce.
Roasting Chicken (A)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Roasting chicken is relatively easy and incredibly tasty. First start by washing the chicken, removing giblets (if there are any, they’re inside the cavity) and wash/pat dry. Separate the breast skin from the chicken using your hands to gently remove without breaking skin. WASH HANDS.
Zest limes, set aside. Mix together juice of two limes and adobo sauce. Salt & Pepper & olive oil inside and outside of chicken generously. Rub chicken with lime/adobo sauce and make sure to also get it under the breast skin. Stuff cavity with onion and the limes. Sprinkle chicken with lime zest. WASH HANDS. Tie chicken legs together with cooking twine. WASH HANDS.
Place chicken on a roasting rack and roast in 350 degrees breast down (see photo) for about 45 minutes. WASH HANDS. The reason you start breast down is to let all those juices and flavors to melt down into the breast.
Increase heat to 400 degrees, flip chicken to breast up (see photo) drizzle additional olive oil on chicken (WASH HANDS!), and roast for another 30 minutes or until you pierce the leg and juices come out clear. The reason you end at a higher temp and breast up is to get that pretty crust on the top of the chicken.
Deglaze the pan with either wine (P) or beer (E, V, A). Deglazing just means adding the alcohol to the bottom of the pan. It will boil up and you can scrape up the bits of cooked chicken off the bottom of the pan. Place this juice in a separate container, cool, skim off fat. This juice is delicious and full of flavor. We’ll add it to the soup later.
Set aside chicken to cool slightly, then shred chicken meat with your hands. Easy!
Prep Pre-Made Chicken (E, P)
Mix together adobo, juice of two limes, adobo sauce, mix in with shredded chicken, add salt & pepper to taste.
Roast tomatillos (V, A)
Roast butternut squash (P, V, A)
Instructions are the same for both roasting tomatillos and butternut squash. They can even be roasted together. Once outer layer is peeled from tomatillos and butternut squash is cubed, mix with 1 tbs olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Put in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until browned.
Prepare Soup Base (E, P, V, A)
In a large soup pot or cast iron pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add celery for 2 minutes, add garlic and chipotle peppers in their sauce. Cook together until onions are brown, about 3 more minutes.
Deglaze Pan with beer (E, V, A)
Deglaze Pan with wine (P)
Add beer or wine, let boil while you scrape up bits of veggies from the bottom of the pan.
Add Remaining Soup Base Ingredients (E, P, V, A)
Here’s where it gets really easy. Add all remaining soup base ingredients for your selected E, P, V, A needs. Again, if you’re cooking for a certain dietary or food preference need (i.e. hates olives or doesn’t eat beans), leave those aside for people to add later. Bring everything to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Soup is best the next day, so this is great for planning ahead. This soup can stay in the fridge like this for about 1 week or in the freezer for three months.
Make Avocado Spread (E, V, A)
This soup can be spicy, so an avocado spread adds a cooling topping when you’re ready to eat the soup. Simply add avocado, zest of 1 lime, and 3 tbs of Greek yogurt in a bowl and mash together until smooth. If you have a Paleo friend or a vegetarian who doesn’t eat yogurt, you can simply top the soup with chopped avocado.
Heat, top and serve!
Heat soup before preparation and set out tortilla chips (E, V, A), avocado spread (E, V, A) (or chopped avocado for P), shredded cheese (E, V, A), and cilantro (E, P, V, A) for topping. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a tasty, complete meal with your friends and family!