The past few mornings at our house, it’s been about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius). Skies are smoky from California and Canada wildfires; windows are thus closed tightly. The garden is looking a bit wan and worn around the edges; flowers are fading and crabapples are ripening. There is snow on Pike’s Peak. Summer is short here and the growing season is sometimes…
Since making soup is one of my very favorite activities, I invited my junior chefs Josiah and Alaena (8 and 6, respectively), over to make one of the newer soups on the blog, EASY CHICKEN- BLACK BEAN SOUP, featured here last March. While some soups and stews are made from scratch ingredients, there are just as many made with a few goodies found ready to go or leftover in your kitchen.
When it comes to Cinco de Mayo cooking, I’ve got these things going for me:
- I lived in way southern Texas (San Antonio) for four years. Hot is my only comment.
- Southern Colorado has been our home for most of twenty-two years.
- I’ve studied cooking more than a few times at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.
- My late dear friend and brother-in-law, Alfred Barrionuevo, was from Mexico and began his professional career as a chef. If you were in the kitchen with him, he was the teacher, and he had extraordinary passion for his cooking. Not only that, his much-loved mother–fondly called “Abelita”–passed on her simplest and best “Mexican” rice recipe to my sister, who then gave it me –nothing written down, you know. My version is in this post.
I know. Chicken-Corn Chowder — the salty-cheesy kind with bacon and lots of soft potatoes– is what you’re thinking. I love that, too, and can remember the very first time I ate it in the kitchen of Woodlawn Planation. But this is a tad different and works to do that sad? but stupendous thing folks sometimes find so difficult–
use up the leftovers.
I don’t make Chicken-Tortilla Soup; I don’t know why. People like it; my husband likes it. Well, I think I did once make it now that I’m thinking of it. A favorite gloppy, flaccid and nondescript overly-seasoned offering in many inexpensive restaurants, I’ve never gotten my mind around it because you can’t tart up a poorly-made cheap soup with freshly made tortilla chips and a half-cup of Cheddar for gods’ sake. I know, I’m just being snarky and nit-picky. Squinting my eyes, pulling my mouth to one side, and making a nasty guttural noise here. So when I hit the pantry looking for something to round out a little “leftover” (an unfortunate adjective if there ever was one) rotisserie chicken for dinner, I made the soup you see above and immediately thought of it as:
Easy Chicken-Black Bean Soup.
There are times you only want some chicken and vegetables. Ask Ina Garten. This is for that day. Mid-December and a few too many goodies coming up next weekend, right? There are lots of things that are faster to cook than a whole roast chicken, but few that are tastier and more satisfying.
Now you and I know that there might not actually have been something called Basil-Bacon Salsa, but there is now. It could be mis-named, but it seems to work for gilding the lily of this tender, crisp, juicy simple grilled chicken. I occasionally do a sort of Italian salsa (generally called Raw Tomato Sauce) with just tomatoes, basil, and garlic or onion for a quick topping of meat, grilled bread, or pasta; this time I had bacon cooked and thought, “Why not?” Chicken and bacon are certainly compatible–and now “Basil-Bacon Salsa” is a thing around here.