by Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole
Ahhhhhh….back to school daze. Whether you miss the little (or not so little) guys underfoot, one thing’s for certain: they’ll be back. And they’ll be hungry. So after you skip through your gloriously peaceful home with a cup of coffee, consider a warm and comforting soup for dinner—one that won’t infringe upon some well-deserved you time.
This lemony-lime concoction of rice, chicken, green chilies and chickpeas ladled over melty, Monterey jack cheese, then topped with crisp tortilla strips and fresh mint should hit the spot. Simple, quick and perfectly pantry-friendly, this healthy and authentically Mexican treat is on the table in 30 minutes.
Of course there are many wonderful ways to make this soup your own. Try with fresh corn off the cob, or garnish with diced avocado, tomatoes, sliced scallions or chopped black olives. Another one-pot wonder for the ages—or at least your recipe file.
Lotsa Lemon and Lime Chicken and Chick Pea Soup
Serves 6 to 8
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
Coarse salt, cracked black pepper, to taste
1 cup white rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or more to taste
8 cups chicken stock
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4-ounce can fire-roasted green chilies
1 cup canned tomatillos, roughly chopped
Juice of 2 limes, or more to taste
Juice of 1 large lemon, or more to taste
Shredded Monterey jack cheese, tortilla strips, minced fresh mint, for serving
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened, seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in rice and sauté until grains are slightly opaque. Add cumin, oregano, stock, chicken, chickpeas, chilies and tomatillos. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, or until rice is cooked.
Remove chicken and cut into bite-size pieces, then add back to soup. Add lime and lemon juices and taste for seasoning.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls over shredded cheese; top with tortilla chips and fresh mint.
Diva confession: Fresh is always best. Tortilla strips are readily available in most supermarkets—but it’s ridiculously easy to fry up a batch at home. Heat an inch or so of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. As the oil heats, cut a stack of soft corn tortillas into 1/2 to 1-inch strips. When the oil is shimmering, add the strips in batches, careful not to overcrowd. Cook the strips until golden brown, tossing occasionally. Drain on paper towels, seasoning with coarse salt.