Hot Soup for a Cold Day
It was a beautiful day in New York today – sunshine, blue skies, and four degrees out. I have been enjoying the sun from inside while making soup. I love soup. Warm, savory, and comforting, it it my favorite meal. Before I knew how to make soup, I was a canned soup addict. My roommate at the time, who was a chef, was horrified. She taught me how to make soup, bought me some recipe books, and forbid me from ever eating canned soup again. I’m incredibly grateful for her instruction. I eat a lot healthier (and cheaper!) than I did back then. Now I’m the one sending her the recipes.
As dancers, eating healthy is so important. (As a human, eating healthy is so important!) If you are looking for a good book on nutrition, Diet for Dancers by Robin D. Chmelar is a good place to start. I’m no expert in nutrition, but I know I feel better when I eat lean protein and lots of veggies. Although I do eat meat, I also really like vegetables, and I find restaurants seem to serve either vegetables or meat, and not always both. I also find it is a lot easier to keep my diet healthy when I cook as opposed to eating out.
When I went gluten free a few years ago, I got a little more experimental in my cooking to find some better options. I’d never cooked with hominy before, but my sister sent me some dried hominy for Christmas from Rancho Gordo. I consulted several recipes on line, but none of them had enough vegetables, and some had a lot of fancy ingredients, so I made up my own recipe. I hope you enjoy my version of…
Chipotle Chicken, Hominy, And Vegetable Soup
1 1/2 cup dried hominy
5 roughly cut cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
4 small zucchinis (or 2 large) cut in rounds
1 red and 1 yellow pepper cut in 1 inch strips (any color will do, but red and yellow are fun)
1 diced carrot (I used a yellow one(!), but an orange carrot is perfectly fine)
1-2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder (less or more, to taste)
4-6 cups of water
Two chicken breasts
Soak the hominy overnight. When you are ready to make your soup, rinse the hominy, add fresh water and bring to a boil for about 45 mins-1 hour while you are chopping your vegetables. I have found that just soaking the hominy wasn’t enough to get it soft. In a large soup pot, sauté the chopped garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped zucchinis, peppers, and carrots and sauté for a 5-10 minutes until they get soft. Add 4-6 cups of water (depending on the size of your pot and how many vegetables you have) Add the chipotle chile powder. You won’t get the same flavor if you use regular chile powder, the chipotle is the key, so take the time to look for this – totally worth it. If you are sensitive to spice, start with less and then add more to your taste. I get a little more adventurous each time I make this soup, and now I’m up to 2 heaping teaspoons! Add the chicken breasts to the pot and bring the soup to a boil (15-20 minutes). Remove the chicken breasts one at a time to a small bowl and shredded them with two forks and return the shredded chicken to the soup. Add the hominy to the soup. Add some salt and pepper. Add the juice of a lemon. For maximum yumminess, enjoy the soup topped with sliced avocado!
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