Food, Wine & Just Good Living With SaucyJoe

It started with a love of food, wine & fun and blossomed into a maddening pursuit of the best recipes, techniques, grills, smokers, wines, crafted beers, rubs, marinades and sauces... We do more than play with our meat though -- we review and discuss all things cooking, drinking, reading, laughing and living at SaucyJoe's.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Saucy Joes Winter Warmup

Ed Note: We have been asked by some of our northern neighbors for some recipes that can be accomplished indoors. While we acknowledge that weather can be a barrier (except for the arctic smoker, Dr. Dave), the best we could do was deliver a hybrid in our Smoked Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup. This is a dandy and would sit well with a nice Pinot Noiricon or Riojaicon. Photos coming today... AND we'll be adding our smoked onion soup this week too.

Smoked Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hrs 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

This Tyler Florence recipe cried out for one more layer of flavor: Smoke! I smoked the whole chicken and tomatoes to add a wonderful aroma and flavor you weren't getting from the original recipe. The lime soaked avocados really pop in your mouth. Thanks to the fresh jalapenos and tobasco you'll get a warm feeling after a few spoonfuls. Great for the cooler evenings!!

Chicken Stock
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)rinseded, giblets discarded
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onionsquartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1 turnip, halved
1/4 bunch fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
The Soup:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium red onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
2 quarts chicken stock, recipe included below
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil, for pan frying
8 corn tortillas, cut into 1/8 inch thick strips
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (from the smoked chicken)
2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
1 cup shredded Jack cheese
1/2 ccoarselyley chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
1 lime juiced for avocado

Pre Game:
There's always some great coals left over after grilling or smoking and this is a perfect time to add the chicken and tomatoes. Set your grill up for indirect grilling and add some water soaked wood chips or chunks to the coals. Add the chicken and tomatoes to the unheated side of the grill and place the cover on the grill. You can keep the chicken and tomatoes on the grill until the coals go out. We're just adding some smoke flavor to the chicken and tomatoes. Cut up your vegetables for the chicken stock while the chicken is smoking. Place the tomatoes in a plastic bag when you pull them out of the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes the skins will easily rub off with a paper towel.
The Work
Chicken Stock:

Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover the chicken (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering. Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand shred the meat into a storage container. Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Covrefrigerateegerate for up to one week or freeze. Yields 2 quarts.

The Soup:
Place a stockpot over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos and tomatoes; cook, stirring for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and pulpy. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Place the cubed avocado into a small bowl and pour the lime juice over the cubes. Meanwhile, heat 1-inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high flame. When the oil begins to smoke, add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until they are crisp on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter and sprinkle with salt while they are still hot. Ladle the hot soup into 6 soup bowls and put a pile of shredded chicken on top of each. Top with the diced avocado, fried tortilla strips and cheese. Garnish with cilantro.
This soup can be cooked in stages. The chicken and tomatoes can be smoked one evening, refrigerated and added to the chicken stock the next day. The chicken stock can be placed in the fridge until you're ready to make the soup. Even the soup (sans avocado and tortilla strips) can be made and refrigerated. Sometimes an extra day will allow the ingredients to mingle and give you some well blended flavors that may not be as apparent the first day.


Blogger Cathy said...

BAH!!! Too many damn steps! Especially when you live in a little apartment on the third floor. Only thing smokin' is my downstairs neighbor. And when that happens, I've gotta shut the patio door *cough*!!

Tue Dec 06, 12:41:00 PM CST  
Blogger Ski Sullivan/TexBall said...

How many packs of chicken does your neighbor smoke a day? As I understand it, Sj is developing a brisket patch for people who want to cut back.

Tue Dec 06, 01:22:00 PM CST  
Blogger Saucy Joe Sullivan said...

The brisket patch prototypes are a little clunky and it hurts like hell when you pull off the duct tape. Perhaps a nice beef jerky or smoked bacon bracelet that can be recharged with a few drops of liquid smoke. R & D continues.

Cathy, try hanging the chicken off of your patio railing the next time your neighbor lights up. Just remember, no Menthols!!

Tue Dec 06, 02:52:00 PM CST  
Blogger Connie said...

I seem to remember that Libby's to die for Black Bean Soup had ham in it. Perhaps you could include that recipe for Dr. Dave's leftover smoked ham (if there's any left). I miss you guys!!!

Tue Dec 06, 07:28:00 PM CST  
Blogger Cathy said...


Tue Dec 06, 10:06:00 PM CST  

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