Saturday, February 5, 2011

Creamy Southwest Chicken Soup
(adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine, October 2010)

2 T butter
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
½ C diced onion
1 T minced garlic
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
½ t ground coriander
6 T flour, divided
3 C whole milk (you need whole milk here because the fat content keeps the cheese from separating)
12 oz beer
1 C chicken stock
½ C dry rice
3 C shredded pepper Jack cheese
2 C shredded chicken
Garnishes: sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges, tortilla chips

 Remove all the seeds and veins from the peppers and dice them, but not too small. The poblano has a little heat, so determine how much you want to use. The real heat is in the seeds and veins, so be sure to remove them if you want less heat.

Saute peppers, onions, garlic and spices in butter for about 5 minutes or until veggies are soft. 

Whisk in half of the flour. Allow the veggies to continue to cook for about 2 minutes longer while stirring in all the flour well.

Slowly add the liquids to the pan. I suggest adding only 1 C at a time and scraping up the bottom of the pan, stirring and whisking well between each addition. At any rate, do not add it all at once – that’s how you get lumps!

Bring to a gentle simmer and add the rice. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Don’t rush this step.

Mix the remaining flour with the shredded cheese – this handy trick keeps the cheese from separating in the hot liquid. Another trick – add the cheese in small handfuls and stir well between each addition. I added the cheese off the heat.

Add the chicken, heat through and serve.