Spicy Chicken Soup
I love chicken tortilla soup - it is perfect for a cold night, or when you want a soup with a spicy kick. Tortillas, however, do not fit into the paleo or Whole 30 lifestyle. I created this soup as a compromise to wanting chicken tortilla soup. I have been perfecting this for years and have found this to be a delicious soup that really hits the spot when you want something hot, flavorful and incredibly satisfying. It is very east to control the amount of spice that goes into this soup, so if you prefer a hint of spice, it is easy to adjust. This is a one-pot meal that I cook entirely in my ceramic dutch oven, which makes clean up easy as well. This is the dutch oven I have been using for years -it holds up really well to high heat AND is easy to clean:
6 cups chicken broth
1 pound chicken tenderloin, cubed into 1/2 inch chunks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (if you want it spicy, keep the seeds)
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 celery stalks, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
2 large carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Cube the chicken into 1/2 inch chunks Trim off any excess fat. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and throw in the chicken, getting a good sear on the outside. Cook until done, about 7-8 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.
In the still hot pan you cooked the chicken in, toss in the onions and garlic. Scrape the chicken drippings with a wooden spoon and cook the onions until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Throw in the diced jalapeno and cook for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the carrots and celery. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir in until mixed, then add all of the spices. Coat the veggie well; now add your chicken back to the pot and coat in the spices and tomato paste mixture.
Add two cups of chicken broth.Stir and scrape the bottom to makes sure nothing is sticking to the pot. Add the rest of the chicken broth and the entire can of diced tomatoes with the juice from the can and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve up the soup and allow to cool for a few minutes before eating. Top the soup with chopped avocado, cilantro and green onions.
MEG'S AFTERTHOUGHTS: I really enjoy this soup with some fresh kale added into it. Make sure your kale is washed and clean, then toss in raw into the soup. The heat from the broth will wilt the kale within a few seconds. If you do not want to eat this paleo, feel free to add some rice, black beans and top with sour cream and cheese.