Interpret the word "grilled" in the recipe loosely. The chicken for this soup can be broiled, cooked on a stove-top grill or griddle, or cooked on an outdoor grill. The most important thing is to cook it quickly with high heat and get some good color.
The chicken is added at the end of the cooking process to soup that gets a big flavor boost from green chili peppers. You can buy canned green chilies, but try roasting one yourself. The taste of the freshly roasted poblano is amazing. It is a little more difficult to remove the skin of a poblano than that of a bell pepper. The solution is to not obsess about getting all the skin off. Lay the roasted pieces of poblano on a cutting board and run a paring knife over the skin side to remove as much of the skin as you can, then ignore the rest.
If you like your spicy food super hot, double the amount of poblano. Serve with cheddar cheese bread, corn bread or black bean quesadillas.
Make Ahead: The soup can be reheated, but it's best served the day it's made. Also, the starch in the rice will thicken the soup. To reheat, you might need to thin the soup by adding broth or water.
Yield: Makes 8 to 9 cups
- For the chicken
- 12 ounces thinly sliced or pounded chicken cutlets
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon mild olive oil
- For the soup
- 1 tablespoon mild olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste (may substitute 2 tablespoons regular tomato paste)
- 1 large (4 ounces) poblano pepper, roasted and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/4 cup; see NOTE)
- 5 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 2/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
- Water (optional)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
For the chicken: Rub the cutlets with the chili powder and salt to taste in a shallow dish. Add the lime juice and oil and rub to coat thoroughly; marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, start the soup: Heat the oil in a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt to taste; cook for about 4 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until soft. Add the jalapeno; cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the poblano, 5 cups of chicken broth, the rice and salt to taste. Bring the broth to a boil, cover and adjust the heat so the broth maintains a very slow boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.
Meanwhile, preheat a grill, broiler, nonstick grill pan or griddle; grease the grate or surface with nonstick cooking oil spray. Cook the cutlets for 3 to 4 minutes until nicely browned. Turn them over and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned on the second side. Transfer to a large plate. Continue until all the chicken is cooked. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Once the rice is tender, add the chicken and cook until it is heated through, 4 to 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add water or broth. Stir in the cilantro; taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice.
NOTE: Roast the poblano pepper on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the skin has blistered. Let it cool, then peel and seed it before cutting as needed.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.