Thursday, October 21, 2010

3 Meals for the Price of One Rotisserie Chicken, ft. Tortilla Soup

“We don’t sweat, we glisten”: should be the sign out in front of Rotisserie chickens. All you see is a succulent, big breasted chicken, slow-roasting in a rotating tanning booth, juices slowly dripping from her glistening-crisp, golden brown skin. She defines full body flavor. When Miss Rotisserie steps of her butter bath, spritzing herself with aromas of salt and spices, just try and ignore her. Is your menu is looking for a nice white meat? For $8, it can dine with Miss Rotisserie for at least three nights. Ready to eat as soon as you get home, Rotisserie chicken will set your dinner off right, as she lends herself well to most any recipe.

The first meal utilized the most underrated part of the chicken: legs and thighs. This delicious dark meat went into Rick Bayless’s Tortilla Soup [included below]. This tomato and chicken broth based soup soared into my top meals list within the first bowl. Dried ancho chilis brought some heat, but not the fire. Ripe avocados, Monterey Jack cheese, and sour cream were the only things I needed to buy, but they were welcomed, creamy additions. By the third bowl, stacked high with crushed tortilla chips and dollops of sour cream, only the expanding food baby that I once called my stomach stopped me from eating more. The best part of this soulful Mexican soup is that it’s simple without being ‘everyday’ – each bite tastes five-star.

The next dinner used only one of the breasts, which I shredded into a Chicken and Quinoa Pilaf. Tired of rice, but still in the mood for some cheap eats? Try quinoa. I would liken it to a tasty whole grain couscous that makes a little ‘snap’ sound when you eat it. The third meal is still in the works, but I am definitely incorporating some fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes and fresh thyme from a nearby garden. Yep, it’s that warm, stick-to-your-sides potato dishes.

And that’s not all that I plan to do with this chicken! With the leftover bones a new batch of chicken stock is in the works. So for $8, three meals and some stock is a steal – but don’t tell my grocery store that.

Tortilla Soup


1 large dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts chicken broth
About 2 cups shredded cooked chicken [2 legs, 2 thighs]
1 large ripe avocado, slivered
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Some roughly broken tortilla chips for garnish
1/2 cup sour cream for garnish


1. Toast chile in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.

2. Chop chile into pieces and put in a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice.

3. Heat oil in large pan, sauté onions and garlic until translucent, about 5-7 min. Stir constantly to not burn.

4. After cooling slightly and straining off most of the excess oil, transfer onions and garlic to blender as well. Blend until smooth.

5. Return mixture to pan. Cook over medium-high heat until thickened, stirring constantly about 6 min.

6. Add broth, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 min. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Add chicken to soup just before serving.

8. Add chips, cheese, avocado, and sour cream on top.

Enjoy about 6 bowls of soup! It will go fast.

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