Today my work held what has become a biannual tradition – International Food Day! It sounds so corporate and lame, but it is such a great way for the entire team to come together and it really boosts everyone’s spirits. To be fair, we work in travel, so morale is only low when we are dreaming of being on far away in an exotic country rather than sitting at our desks. Our office only has about 20 people in it, but the departments are pretty separate, so even though we socialise together outside of work a bit, we don’t get together as one big team during office hours much. I was expecting the worst with International Food Day this time around. Everyone was sort of wishy-washy about what they were bringing and nobody really seemed super keen on it, but I was pleasantly surprised when almost everyone showed up with a dish. It was so much better than expected, and I think it’s been one of the best so far. You always know it’s good when you’re so full afterwards that your stomach actually feels like it might burst! I brought along a chocolate cheesecake along with one of my all time favourite dinners – Marinated Chinese Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry. Iain and I have this dish for dinner pretty much every week. Once the marinating is done (20 minutes), it comes together in 10 minutes flat. And it’s ridiculously tasty. I think it went down a treat today! This Chicken Tortilla Soup was not involved in this International Food Day in any way. But in future it should be. It’s so crazy delicious and so crazy easy to make that I’ve made two batches in three weeks. Iain mustn’t have had very high expectations when I told him I was making soup, because he was absolutely amazed at how good it was. He couldn’t stop saying how incredible it tasted. So glad to see he has faith in my cooking! The ingredients list might look a bit long, but almost half of them are herbs and spices, and I bet you have almost all of the ingredients in your cupboard right now. Go check, I’ll wait. Right? Well, if not, get yourself to the supermarket and pick up whatever’s missing, then get a-cooking. Soup is always good in the colder months, but this one is even better because it’s got a little spicy kick to it. Just what you need to warm your belly during the most miserable months of the year.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
400-450g chicken breasts (you can also use 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken and skip steps 1 and 2 below)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
2 (400g) cans diced tomatoes
2 tbsp drained and diced jalapeños from a jar or can
2 tsp chilli powder
1½ tsp cumin
½ tsp oregano
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp ground coriander
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ cup uncooked rice
1 (200g) can corn, drained
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sour cream (skip for dairy free option)
Grated cheddar cheese (skip for dairy free option)
Crushed tortilla chips, plus extra whole tortilla chips for dipping
- Half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to boil. Add whole chicken breasts, cover, reduce heat to low and poach for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
- Drain saucepan, place chicken on a chopping board and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then shred with two forks.
- While chicken is cooking, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for another minute, until fragrant.
- Add chicken stock, canned tomatoes, jalapeños, chilli powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, ground coriander, cayenne pepper and uncooked rice to the saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-18 minutes, until rice is cooked through. Add shredded chicken, corn, lime juice and salt and pepper and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream, grated cheese, diced avocado and crushed tortilla chips, with whole tortilla chips on the side.