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Have you ever craved a bowl of soup that warms you up and packs a punch of flavor? If so, you’re in the right place! Welcome to our guide on how to make Spicy Mexican Soup, a dish that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds and satisfy your soul.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of creating this vibrant and flavorful soup. We’ve got you covered, from gathering the ingredients to perfecting the cooking process. So, whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, get ready to embark on a culinary journey that will transport you straight to the heart of Mexico!
Spicy Mexican Soup is a hearty, warming dish that perfectly embodies the bold flavors of Mexican cuisine. It’s a delightful medley of textures and tastes, featuring a rich, spicy broth that’s loaded with vegetables, beans, and often some type of meat. The heat from the spices is balanced by the freshness of the vegetables and the creaminess of the beans, resulting in a soup that’s both comforting and exciting to the palate.
As for its history, soup has always been a staple in Mexican cuisine, with each region having its own traditional recipes. Spicy Mexican Soup, with its use of chili peppers and other spices, reflects the country’s love for heat and flavor. It’s a dish that’s often enjoyed with family and friends and is perfect for both everyday meals and special occasions.
- ½ large white onion, roughly chopped (about 8 ounces)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, to taste
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
- 4 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 1 pound)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 25-ounce can hominy, drained and rinsed
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)
- Juice of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
- Onion, finely chopped
- Cilantro leaves
- Avocado, thinly sliced
- Cotija cheese, crumbled
- Tortilla strips
- Lime wedges
- Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, chipotle peppers, cilantro, and tomatoes to a food processor. Puree until well combined, with no large pieces remaining, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
- Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and the oregano.
- In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken thighs for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to a cutting board. Shred the chicken using 2 forks. Set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the same pot if it appears dry. Pour the reserved puree into the pot. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes until the liquid has started to evaporate. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until nearly all the moisture has been cooked out and the puree has reduced to a dark paste, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, about 20 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken stock and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate any browned bits. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir in the shredded chicken and bring to a simmer.
- Once the stock is simmering, stir in the hominy and bell pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Add the lime juice and season with salt to taste.
- Serve the soup hot, with onion, cilantro, avocado, cotija cheese, tortilla strips, and lime wedges alongside for topping.
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are a key ingredient in this Spicy Mexican Soup. They're smoked and dried jalapeños that are rehydrated and canned in a sweet and tangy purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and some other spices. They add a deep smoky flavor and a nice kick to the soup, making it rich and flavorful.
Tips and Tricks
- Be patient when reducing the puree to a paste. This process helps to intensify the flavors and gives the soup its rich, deep flavor.
- Adjust the amount of chipotle peppers according to your heat preference. If you prefer a milder soup, use just one pepper; if you like it spicier, use two or three.
- You can use other types of meat like pork or beef, or even make it vegetarian by using vegetable stock and adding more beans or vegetables instead of the chicken.
- Don’t skip the toppings!
Spicy Mexican Soup is a versatile dish that can be served in a variety of ways. Here are a few suggestions:
- Presentation: Serve the soup in a deep bowl to showcase its vibrant color and hearty ingredients. Garnish with a sprinkle of crumbled cotija cheese, a few slices of avocado, a handful of crispy tortilla strips, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. These toppings add a variety of textures and a burst of color that makes the dish even more appetizing.
- Pairings: This soup pairs well with a side of warm cornbread or a few slices of crusty bread for dipping. For a complete meal, consider serving it with a Mexican-style salad or a serving of Spanish rice. As for beverages, a cold beer or a glass of iced tea would complement the spicy flavors of the soup nicely.
Spicy Mexican Soup is highly customizable. Here are a few variations you could try:
- Protein: While this recipe uses chicken thighs, you can easily substitute them with other proteins like beef, pork, or even shrimp. For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken with beans, lentils, or tofu.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables like corn, zucchini, or sweet potatoes. You can also add greens like spinach or kale for an extra nutritional boost.
- Spice Level: Adjust the heat to your preference. Use more or fewer chipotle peppers, or try different types of chili peppers for a different flavor profile.