It's too hot to make soup, y'all. And probably even more too hot to eat it. But I love me some soup, and sometimes I just have to have it, even if it means sitting with both elbows the cool granite counter-tip, panting and wiping my brow, with those weird half-circles of sweat under my boobs and schmears of mascara under my eyes.
I justified making this soup while I was in Virginia with my sister by explaining to her that it's Mexican, and Mexicans eat it year-round - in Mexico - and it's always hot in Mexico. So therefore we could extrapolate that this soup is actually intended to be a hot-weather meal.
(I have no idea if any of the aforementioned "facts" are actual facts, because I totally made them all up on the spot. But my sister ate the soup, and I ate the soup, and my niece ate the soup, and we all made a lot of really happy sounds while we ate, and yes, there was brow-mopping and sweat-sideburns, but there was absolutely no complaining. CERO!)
Also, this soup contains three of the coolest characters ever in culinary-land -- cilantro, avocado and lime.
Did I just see you shiver a nice refreshingly-chilly shiver? See? Hace mucho frio, y'all.
Sopa de Pollo
1 whole chicken, washed and giblet sack removed
1 large carrot
1 large stalk celery
1 onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large fresh tomatoes, diced
1 large jalapeno pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro
sliced fresh avocado
grated cheddar cheese
Make chicken broth: Place chicken in a large stockpot or dutch oven and cover with water (You will need at least 10 cups of stock to make the soup, so plan accordingly). Break carrot and celery into pieces and add to water. Add quartered onion, whole garlic cloves, bay leaves, and a few grinds of pepper to water. Bring to boil and reduce heat, cover and simmer for two hours.
Cool broth, strain liquid from solids and set broth aside, remove vegetables, chicken bones and skin from chicken and discard. Set chicken aside.
In a stockpot, heat oil and add onion, diced tomatoes and jalapenos. Allow to simmer and cook until onions are translucent and soft (5-10 minutes). Finely chop about 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and add with the minced garlic to onions and tomatoes. Allow to cook 2 more minutes.
Add 10 cups of the chicken broth to the onion mixture and allow to simmer 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. (I use a heaping teaspoon of salt, but I like things pretty salty.) Stir in chicken and allow to heat through.
Into each individual bowl, place a handful of broken corn chips, 10-15 leaves of cilantro, and a few slices of avocado. Ladle soup over these ingredients and then top with a dollop of sour cream, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a sprinkling of grated cheddar. Serve immediately.
With plenty of ice-cold cerveza, por favor.