Week 31, Meal 3: The fiesta bowl

When I first started this blog, cooking was one of the worst ‘chores’ I had to do. I always felt like it was such a pain in the ass to cook my own meals everyday, so instead, I would hit the drive-thru.

It’s hard sometimes not to get bored or tired of cooking at home–I definitely do that in cycles– but Week 31, Meal 3: Salsa verde soup reminded me why I love to cook.

Toasting the coriander, tearing the husks from the tomatillos and that “a-ha” moment when the salsa verde broth came together revived my senses. Leave in the seeds when you chop up the chiles for a spicier broth.

And about that ¬†bowl of soup? Better and fresher than I could have found in South Orange County at 9 p.m., that’s for sure. Keep reading for the recipe and how-to.

The Recipe (Yield: 4 servings)

Salsa verde broth
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 poblano pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds optional, roughly chopped
2 serrano chiles, seeds optional, roughly chopped
1 1/2 t corriander seed, toasted and ground
1 1/2 t dried Mexican oregano
12 oz. tomatillos, husked and roughly chopped
4 c chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
cooking spray, as needed

Remaining ingredients
6 oz. chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
1/2 yellow onion
1 poblano pepper, seeded
2 ears corn, husked
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 oz. queso fresco
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/4 c light sour cream

First, get all of your prep work out of the way and preheat the grill to high. Next heat a large pot over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add onions, garlic and chilies and cook for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add coriander and oregano and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add chicken broth, raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

On the grill, cook the chicken through, about 4 min. per side. From the “remaining ingredients” portion of the recipe, grill the onion, poblano and corn until you see some char on the vegetables. Chop the chicken, slice the onion and pepper and shuck the corn, taking the kernels completely off of one ear and quartering the other.

When the broth has finished simmering, use a stick blender or transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. If using a regular blender, blend in batches, so you don’t blow the top off the machine. (I speak from experience.)

Pass the broth through a strainer to remove any large pieces and seeds from the tomatillos and peppers. Season the broth with salt and pepper.

Add the reserved ingredients and the black beans. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce heat to low for another 15-20 min. Season with salt and pepper to taste one final time.

To plate: Ladle the soup into large bowls and garnish each with 1/2 oz. of queso fresco, 1 T of sour cream and 1 T of cilantro. Drop a quarter of the ear of corn in as a final touch.

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