Souper Yum!

*This is an updated and improved version*

I belong in SA – Soupers Anonymous.  That’s right, I have a soup addiction; especially if you include stew and chili in that category.  Peace & happiness come all together, piping hot in a bowl with a soup spoon on the side.  I find almost as much comfort in throwing things together in a pot to love on each other as I do eating it.  You know the slogan, “Soup is good food”.  So true, so true.

Early spring in my part of the country means two things: summer & winter.  That’s not entirely accurate…spring exists about 2% of the time.  We have our strange (but, great…believe me, so, so great) teaser summery days.  It gets up to 75º, and you find people wearing tanks and shorts, driving with the top down, sipping iced coffee.  Not me.  Nope.  Maybe because I am a skeptic, but more likely, it’s because I have lived here my whole life.  I know that any moment now the temperature can drop 40º and we will be hit with 6″ of snow.  I’m not all that trusting to pack away the winter coats or even change into short sleeves until around mid-May.  On that note, please someone remind me just why it is that I live here…

I make soup just about year round.  Fall & winter are no brainers; who doesn’t love being warmed from the inside out?  Spring works too, as I mentioned above.  Summer too, is a souper (sorry) time for soup.  Fresh corn chowder; cold gazpacho; dessert soup?  Yum, yum, yum!  Roasted Tomatillo and Poblano Chicken Posole is a winner year round.  Posole is traditionally a celebratory dish, so served for the holidays would be appropriate.  The flavors are light enough that for spring or even summer it would fit at the table.

This is not only one of my favorite soups/stews, it is one of my favorite dishes.  We all love it.  I made it for our big family gathering on Christmas Eve and it was a huge hit.  The ingredients seem pretty straightforward & simple, but I am telling you, it is so delectably good.    Magic happens in that pot, and then guess what?

You get to eat it!

For this recipe I use roasted tomatillos and poblano peppers.  Tomatillos are the weird cousin of the tomato.  (We all have one of those, right?  In my family, it’s me, I think.)  I love, love, love tomatillos.  They have a mild, garden flavor with a hint of lime.  They come enrobed in a paper husk and are a bit sticky on the skin.  Look for smaller (sweeter) tomatillos whose husks are not shriveled and dry.  The fruit itself should be firm and blemish free.

Poblanos are large, dark green chili peppers.  They are typically mild and are great roasted.

  Hominy is also used in this recipe, which is what makes it posole.  If you are not familiar, hominy are whole corn kernels that are cooked and treated in a lime  or lye solution.  They are puffy, chewy and have a delicious, deep corn flavor.  Posole is traditionally made with pork and hominy.  I love this chicken version.  I use chicken that I roasted right on the bone, so it stays juicy and flavorful.  We serve this with lime quarters at the table to squeeze in and a dollop of sour cream (or greek yogurt, in our case).  Perfection.

Roasted Tomatillo and Poblano Chicken Posole

serves 8

1 lb. tomatillos, husks and stems removed, quartered

3 lg. white onions,  2 cut in eighths and 1 diced, and reserved

2 poblano peppers, quartered and seeded

4 garlic cloves, halved

1 garlic clove, minced and reserved

1 Tbsp. olive oil

6 c. chicken stock

3 lbs. bone-in, skin on  chicken breasts

1 30 oz. can hominy, drained & rinsed

1 tsp. salt

1/2 c. chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375*. Place chicken breasts on parchment lined sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast chicken for 45 min. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When chicken is cool enough to handle, separate meat from bones, discarding skin and bones. Shred chicken and reserve.

Preheat oven to 425*. Place tomatillos, 2  onions, cut in eighths, poblanos, and halved garlic on a parchment lined sheet pan. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 15-20 min or until vegetables are tender and slightly charred. Place in a blender and process until smooth and reserve.

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute onion, until tender.  Add additional minced garlic, cook for 1 minute, stirring.  Add stock, scraping up browned bits.  Add chicken & hominy.  Stir in pureed tomatillos and cook for 5 minutes or until heated through.  Add chicken and cilantro.  Serve with a squeeze of lime juice and sour cream or plain greek yogurt.

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