Mexican chicken soup with charred baby corn
Aromatic Mexican chicken soup with sweet, charred baby corn makes for a showstopping meal when served with fresh jalapeños and avocado.
Ok disclaimer time: This soup is probably not at all Mexican but listen, adding all those delicious spices and then topping it with avocado made it taste quite a lot like delicious chicken tacos in soup form so I’m going with it. Anyway, no matter what this is called, it’s probably the most delicious soup I’ve ever made. In fact, I’m surprised I haven’t posted this recipe before now because I’m not lying to you, I’ve made this recipe weekly since last May. I first made it because I had some rotisserie chicken left over and knew chicken soup would be the best way to stretch it into another meal. I pretty much emptied the fridge and used peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic etc. and made a very tomatoey (that’s a word!) broth. Since then, I’ve played with the recipe and tweaked it but the kids and C know that they’re guaranteed to have this soup at regular intervals.
Now here’s another thing I have to be honest about: I despise peppers. Like, I really don’t like them. The only way I can eat peppers (and only the red and yellow ones. The green ones…ugh) is in food like this. Food that is spiced heavily and have looooads of other ingredients in them. The sweetness of the pepper comes to play but all the other flavours that I don’t like, are masked. It’s a win-win. And frying them off for long with the onions, carrots and mushrooms really do make them sweeter and more delectable, which is something I never thought I would say about a pepper.
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 skeptical 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 quesidillas, 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.
- 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
- 10 ears baby corn
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt, to taste
- sliced avocado
- fresh parsley/coriander
- sliced jalapeños
- chopped spring onion
- Saute the onion and carrot in a splash of oil until soft and fragrant (approximately 10 minutes) then add the peppers and mushrooms and saute for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and spices and saute 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.