Alida says: “What I love most about this soup is that it’s really easy to adjust according to what you have in the house. I’ve added courgette (zucchini), beans (although my kids aren’t big fans), frozen corn, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and chunks of sweet potato. You can literally use any vegetable you have that needs using. You can even leave out the chicken and make a fantastic vegan soup since there’s also no dairy involved. I really love using left-over roast chicken though. The trick is to only add it right at the end to heat through because that way it keeps its succulence. To enrich the soup, I use chicken stock I make every time we’ve had a roast chicken and that gelatinous, richness of homemade chicken stock really enhances the soup however good quality shop-bought stock or stock concentrate will work well too.
For this version I couldn’t find beautiful big ears of corn (summer is over, after all) but found lovely little minis and decided to char grill them to enhance their flavour and add smokiness to the finished soup. I also topped the soup with slices of avocado which, to be honest, I was sceptical about since I really, REALLY don’t like warm avocado. However, in this soup it just adds lovely creaminess which is welcome since the broth is so intensely tomatoey, chickeny, spicy. When it comes to serving the soup, chunky bread, quickly grilled is absolutely delicious but if you’re cooking this for friends or family and want to wow them a little, may I suggest making very simple cheese quesadillas, giving them a quick grill in a griddle pan and serving them alongside the soup? I promise you, it’s worth the little bit of effort and your guests will think you are a kitchen god/goddess. Guaranteed.”
Mexican chicken soup with charred baby corn
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 punnet (250g) mushrooms, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (approximately 14oz can)
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
10 ears of baby corn, char grilled and sliced
salt & pepper to taste
lemon juice, to taste
for the charred baby corn
10 ears baby corn
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, to taste
chopped spring onion
Sauté the onion and carrot in a splash of oil until soft and fragrant (approximately 10 minutes) then add the peppers and mushrooms and sauté for a further 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and spices and sauté for 30 seconds before adding the chopped tomatoes, sugar and stock. Lower the heat and allow to simmer gently for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, coat the baby corn in the olive oil and grill in a griddle pan until charred all over and cooked through. Slice and add to the soup.
When the soup has reduced slightly, add the shredded chicken then season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Allow the chicken to warm through then serve topped with the avocado, fresh herbs, jalapeños and spring onion.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
Alida Ryder is one of my favourite food people. Excellent cook, recipe developer, great photographer. Her website has a huge following and she is doing things she could only have dreamed of a few years ago. She’s written two books Simple & Delicious and Cook from the heart. Click here to go to her fabulous website. Click here to buy her first e-book.