My good friend German knows what he likes when it comes to food. It’s all about local sourcing from his region of Jalisco. Yet “local sourcing” in German’s context (and among many people) means the flavors he grew up on – the gastronomic legacy of rural Mexican families.
Chipotles in adobo are smoked and dried jalapeños rehydrated in an equally intriguing purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic and spices. The ingredients point to a combination that would seem to ignite your mouth. But its heat is on par with Tabasco Sauce.
The smoking of jalapeños dates back deep within Mesoamerican cultures. Smoking is an age-old method of preserving foods and imparts unique flavor notes depending on the type of wood and the process used. In Mexican tradition red jalapeño peppers are dried and smoked for days over pecan wood.
Adobo sauce is a delight in its own with its origin in 16th century Spain. Ingredients include brown sugar, vinegar, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, chili powder and (from the New World) tomatoes. It’s a classic fusion with Silk Road/Mediterranean/New World roots.
Chipotles in adobo are embedded within Mexican cuisine. It transcends regionalism. And its flavor makes every dish its own.
In this quick and easy chicken soup the addition of crema (*see Notes*) sour cream and/or cream cheese creates the smooth texture and just enough fat needed to coat your palate with the rich, warm flavors of the chipotles in adobo.
Chicken Soup with Chipotle in Adobo
(4 servings, recipe by German Israel Curial Ayon)
- 2 tomatoes, quartered
- 16 oz. (500 grams) Crema or sour cream *
- 2 teaspoons chicken stock powder (s/a Knoor brand)*
- 1 cup water*
- 4 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce*
- 1 small red onion sliced (divide in half)
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons butter
- 2 boneless chicken breasts (approx. 1+ lb./500 + grams)
- 3 medium sized white potatoes, peeled & cubed
- Salt/pepper to taste
- Garnish: 2 avocados sliced and sliced or grated manchego or other mild cheese
- Measure and cut/slice all ingredients.
- In a blender puree the tomatoes, crema (or sour cream with or without cream cheese) chicken stock powder, water, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and ½ sliced red onion.
- Melt the butter in a deep heavy pan over medium high heat and sauté the remaining red onion for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the cubed chicken and sauté for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the diced potatoes and stir until combined.
- Add the puree and seasonings. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cover. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer for at least 30 to 45 minutes, and the potatoes are tender.
- Ladle into bowls and top with cheese and slices of avocado.
(1) Crema is slightly thinner and less tart than sour cream. You can also use 12 oz/375 grams Crema or sour cream and 4 oz/125 grams cream cheese that’ll create a richer smooth texture.
(2) You can substitute 1 cup prepared chicken stock for the chicken stock powder and water.
(3) you cannot substitute anything for the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce regardless what the internet says. It is the dominant flavor and simply will not be the same soup. You can find them canned in most better grocery stores and Latino food shops.
Novelist Pat Conroy wrote, “A recipe is a story that ends in a good meal.” German’s Chicken Soup with Chipotle in Adobo is a story you will savor.
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