Ingredients in the fridge are like a cook’s paint box. There are so many ways to use them, they can be as delicious as starting with a purchased array. That’s how this recipe came about. I always have homemade broth in the freezer now. In the past, I would make a huge batch of soup, and we’d eat it every day until we got tired of it. Maybe I’d freeze the remainder or maybe it would get sour, and I’d have to toss it. It wasn’t working very well, and soup for supper (or lunch) was an only-once-in-a-while thing. We were getting huge amounts good nourishing bone broth occasionally, but I really wanted it to be a part of my cooking all the time.
So instead of making a vat of soup, I decided to make broth instead and freeze it in ice cube trays. Now I have homemade bone broth for quick soups like this week’s recipe, liquid for cooking rice, a flavorful addition to pan sauces and a way to enhance greens and other vegetables. We get the benefits of the broth nearly every day. Right now I have chicken, beef, dashi, and ham broths ready at the waiting in the freezer.
When we want soup, I can make just enough and not too much, using leftover meats, poultry or seafood and the assorted vegetables that are just waiting in the fridge. It’s a great way to use up half a jalapeño, some leftover roast chicken, some salsa or whatever good stuff you happen to have.
For a time I was a personal chef to some dear friends. I made this soup for them (though not from leftovers) and when one of them brought the soup to work and heated it up for lunch one day, I suddenly had four new clients to cook for. It perfumed the office with an enticing aroma that lured her coworkers to the break room to find out what it was. Try that with Progresso sometime. There’s a funky, weird smell that lingers long after the not-so-tasty soup is gone.
This recipe is for a Mexican-inspired soup, but you can vary it up in many different ways. Cook some carrots, celery and onion in the chicken broth. Add the chicken and some leftover rice. Voilà! Almost instant chicken rice soup. And whether you want to chase away a cold or keep from getting one, you’ll have a bowl of goodness that beats Campbell’s to shame.
There’s a nice, long playlist this week. I kept adding tunes and decided to keep ’em. Fire up the Spotify, make a quick soup and enjoy!