Greg and I are in Neskowin, Oregon this week — a tiny little beach town with impossibly cute houses surrounded by brilliantly colored flowers, some blossoms as big as dinner plates. I hit the beach cooking, barely having time to gather in a car load of groceries before cooking dinner for a dozen on Saturday night (sour cream chicken enchiladas). Yesterday, I cooked lunch for 22 of Greg’s extended family members dropping by to hug, share stories and sit a spell between strolls to the beach. Greg lost both of his parents when they were just in their 50’s (our age!) so connections to them now — people and places — are doubly meaningful. Since Greg and his siblings were young, Neskowin was the family vacation spot and is where all of them return to, as Greg says, “fill our souls.” So while they are filling their souls, I am filling their tummies.
For the lunch crowd, I served sandwiches and tortilla soup, with blueberry-raspberry bars for dessert. It was perfect for a cool, foggy day at the beach, huddled up with people we love. Plus it makes a bunch!!
Becky’s Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 seeded red bell pepper
1/2 red onion
3 cloves garlic
2 t. poultry seasoning
2 t. cumin
1 T. brown sugar
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (medium to hot heat level), available in small cans in Mexican and Spanish food section of market.*
1 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes, divided in half
4 cups chicken or veggie broth (divided 1 and 3)
3 to 4 cups roasted chicken, pulled off bone and diced or shredded ( roasted chickens are available in most grocery delis)
1 cup frozen corn
1 zucchini, dice
steak or grill seasoning (or salt and pepper), to taste
1/4 cup bar-b-que sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
crushed tortilla chips
chopped green onions
sour cream or Greek Yogurt
wedges of fresh lime
In a blender or food processor put the first seven ingredients (bell pepper through chipotles), half of the crushed tomatoes, and one cup of broth. Blend well.
Pour this mixture into big soup pot and add the rest of the crushed tomatoes and broth.
To this add frozen corn, chicken, and zucchini.
Simmer over medium heat until zucchini is tender and soup is heated through. Season with Steak or Grill Seasoning (or salt and pepper) to taste. To make a creamier soup, you can add 1/2 cup of cream.
To serve, put a handful of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each soup blow. Carefully ladle on soup, then top with your choice of toppings.
Vegetarian Version: Use veggie broth, pinto, ranch or black beans in place of chicken. Vegans omit cheese and cream
*I keep the leftover Chipotles in Adobo Sauce in a small Ziploc bag in the freezer and break off what I need to add depth of flavor and heat to other Mexican dishes.