Warm up with zesty Chicken Fajita Soup

Every January we press the ‘reset’ button and look to healthy fresh starts, and getting organized. Such was the case this week as I was searching for inspiration to write a recipe, and so I figured I’d lean in clean out my fridge, freezer, pantry, and play my own at-home game of ‘Chopped’.  Looking to my previous real-life experiences on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen helped prepare me for the challenge (insert Rocky theme here for background ambiance) as I set a timer to really get things going.

With 30 minutes on the clock*, I took stock of potential ingredients and saw that I had in the fridge: green bell pepper, portobello mushroom caps, a jar of pickled jalapeños, some brown bananas, and a few leftover limes. From the freezer came: chicken breasts, chicken stock, and a bag of diced onions that I usually keep on hand for when I’m feeling a little lazy (tip: when you’re chopping 1 onion, you might as well just chop 3, and freeze the extra for later days). Looking to the pantry, I found garlic and some aging tortillas. The wheels turned, and immediately i said ‘no’ to the banana, for this recipe, and made a mental note to make banana bread later. The rest would be turned into Chicken Fajita Soup. (*30 minute timer was to assess the situation, prep ingredients, and get the whole thing going. The soup takes a little longer to simmer and finish.)

To get the big time flavor of a skillet of sizzling fajita accoutrements, the first step to this soup is to saute and season each of the base ingredients providing bold flavor for a rich result in each and every bite. Since you can’t really have fajitas without tortillas, I decided to turn these into seasoned baked chips or strips to top the soup. Finishing each dish with a sprinkling of pickled jalapeños sealed the deal, though I really wished I’d had some sour cream and scallions on hand to top it off for a refreshing kick. I’ll leave that choice up to you- black beans, and shredded cheese also make for great additions to this soup.

Chicken Fajita Soup with Baked Tortilla Crisps

For soup:

  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 1.5-2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced to 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • vegetable or canola oil, as needed
  • 3 limes, for juice & garnish
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • smoked paprika, as needed
  • kosher salt & finely ground black pepper as needed
  • jarred sliced pickled jalapeños, for garnish
  • baked tortilla crisps (recipe below), for garnish
  1. Place the diced chicken pieces into a zip top bag, and add: juice of 1 lime, 2 Tbs. oil, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Press out the air, and seal the bag shut. Gently squeeze the bag, working the ingredients around until combined. Allow to rest & marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large dutch oven, or heavy bottomed soup pot heat 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms to the pot and give a good stir to coat, and then spread in an even later across the bottom of the pot. Leave the mushrooms along and allow them to cook for 5 minutes. Give a good stir again, add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until mushrooms are browned.
  3. To the browned mushrooms, add the diced onion, garlic, bell pepper, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and pinch of black pepper. Give a good stir to incorporate all ingredients, and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat until fragrant and the edges of onion and pepper are lightly browned.
  4. Add the marinated diced chicken to the pot, and stir to coat in the mushrooms, peppers and onions. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, until the chicken has just started to turn white on the outside. Season with additional pinch of salt & pepper.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the chicken stock to the pot, covering all ingredients. Add the juice from 1 lime, and stir to ensure all ingredients are mixed and nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan. If stock does not cover all of the ingredients, add 1 cup of water to cover along with a pinch of salt to season. Simmer the soup over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve a generous portion of soup along with a heaping pile of baked tortilla crisps, sprinkling of sliced pickled jalapeños, and wedge of lime.

For tortilla crisps:

  • 4,  8″ flour tortillas
  • 2 Tbs. veggie or canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • pinch of kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • wedge of lime
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the tortillas into strips about 1/4 inch wide by 2 inches long.
  2. In a mixing bowl, Toss the tortilla strips along with oil, chili powder, salt and pepper until all the strips are coated. Transfer the seasoned strips to a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until browned and crisp. Squeeze a wedge of lime juice over top of the crisps before serving.

 

SHISO FRESH IS CHEF JESSICA ROY OF SHISO KITCHEN IN BOSTON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR OF ‘YOUR PERSONAL CHEF’ FOR THE LOWELL SUN WHERE YOU CAN FIND THESE AND MORE RECIPES WEEKLY. FOLLOW ALONG ON SOCIAL MEDIA VIA @SHISOFRESH AND @SHISOKITCHEN

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