It may come as a little shock to the system to see me blogging about food. While I’m no stranger to the cocktail recipe, I haven’t yet ventured into talking about food in the blogosphere. If you’re wondering why now, I have to back up a little to explain.
At the Alt Summit, one of the most impactful sessions I went to was a roundtable led by Eden Hensley Silverstein. Eden challenged us to think about what we really want to be known for and to let that be our blogging guide. While I don’t expect to be known for being an amazing chef, the whole reason I started this blog was to share the journey I am taking towards doing things my own way. Year Without Fear has always been about breaking free of fear to try those things I have always wanted to do. Sometimes for me the goal hasn’t always been one I set out for myself, but one that was thrust upon me, and this food journey is definitely one of them.
I am not a chef. In fact, I don’t even play one on tv, but I am a woman who has food allergies and a mom to a child who deeply struggles with her own food allergies. If you are one of those women, I think you can relate, and even if you don’t have an allergy-filled family, I’m sure you can identify with wanting to find recipes that are on the healthier side that your family will actually eat.
This is why I have decided to add food as a blogging component. I will share more of our allergy journey as we go along and how I went from a woman, who was once accused of not even knowing how to boil water, into a woman who loves dreaming up & creating new recipes and allergy-free adaptations for her family. For today, though, let’s jump right into this recipe.
One of my favorite foods on earth is soup (though my husband hotly debates soup being seen as a meal). I get this love from my mother. My Mom is the queen of all soups. Whenever she visits or if someone is sick in the family, you can guarantee you will open your freezer to find it stocked with all of her famous soup recipes.
From this deeply ingrained, dare I say, genetic love of soup, I started trying out my own soup recipes. Many years ago, I discovered chicken posole. Posole is one of those recipes, like your family chili recipe, that is deeply personal and regional for ingredients. For years, my traditional posole recipe centered around chicken, green chiles, jalapeño, cilantro and hominy.
It wasn’t until our brush with a corn allergy that I started to question what hominy even was. For those unindoctrinated, as I was, hominy is dried corn that has been soaked in lye, lime & ash until it pops open and takes on a unique spongy, chewy quality. Now I don’t know about you, but minus a corn allergy, the thought of soaking my food in lye gives me the heebie jeebies (which is a technical term for completely freaking me out.) To top it off, at the time, I also watched a documentary featuring the genetically modified process for most domestic corn production and I literally never wanted to touch another piece of hominy ever again.
This left me in quite the pickle. You see, posole had become my absolute favorite go to recipe. So, I set out on finding a replacement that left me satisfied and not conflicted about adding just a few of my lye-soaked friends. First, I tried to substitute chick peas for the hominy which was a huge miss in terms of texture and flavor. Then, I tried to do it without hominy or chick peas, which just made the soup sad and me still hungry after a bowl of it. Finally, I had a brilliant brain blast that included the glorious sweet potato. Eureka!
The sweetness balanced the spice of the jalapeño. I loved the texture and flavor and didn’t even miss the pillowy little hominy nuggets one little bit. But, the best part is not one, but both of my children loved it. Truthfully, I had zero hopes of this little recipe satisfying everyone in the family, so imagine my surprise when they both asked for me to make it again. Houston, we have lift off.
So, I humbly share the recipe that satisfied a family and I hope your family will love it, too.
- 2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- 8 - 10 cups chicken broth (I use a organic, gluten-free variety)
- 3 - 6 oz. cans of green chilies diced (depending on your love of spice, mild or hot varieties)
- 1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium jalapeños, diced with seeds removed (depending on your love of heat)
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into small bite-sized pieces
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Sliced radishes (trust me, so very good)
- Lime slice
- Coconut Creme (recipe to follow)
- Or, a dollop of guacamole
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil over medium heat. Add chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Cook thoroughly. Season with thyme and set aside. You can either wait until chicken is cooked to dice or shred or if you are impatient, like me, take a flat ended wooden spoon and break apart the pieces as they cook.
- While the chicken browns, cut the garlic, onion & jalapeño. Also, chop the cilantro, peel & chop the sweet potatoes and set both aside.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onion & jalapeño. Cook until softened.
- Transfer the garlic, onion & jalapeño into a blender or Cuisinart. Add canned green chilies & chopped cilantro. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the mix into a stock pot and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, for 3-4 minutes until the mix darkens. (This step can easily be skipped for time, but I think it adds a little more depth of flavor.)
- Add chicken and chicken broth to the stock pot. Bring to a slow boil or simmer. Add diced potatoes and cook until fork tender (about 10 minutes).
- Serve with sliced radishes, additional chopped cilantro, jalapeño, and coconut creme. If you do not have a problem with dairy, a dollop of sour cream tastes great. Or, top with a tablespoon of guacamole.
- Coconut creme: Refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk overnight (or at least for a few hours). Turn over and open the can to find the heavier fat solids in a layer. Remove one tablespoon, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and a pinch of salt, mix, and use like sour cream.
When my daughter was sick and asked specifically for this soup and I didn’t want to make a whole batch, I just used baked chicken from the hot bar at Whole Foods, shredded it and added everything minus the jalapeños to a small sauce pot. It took maybe 5 minutes to prepare and she had a perfect quick dinner that soothed an achy tummy. It has quickly become our go to recipe for lunches at work & school or even to take to a sick friend.
What are your favorite soul soothing recipes? I’d love to know. I am always on the search for my next meal.