It’s Ina Garten week in our downtown
I’ve always enjoyed watching Ina’s television programs. Her recipes are simple, but they also focus on the best and freshest ingredients. I like her style—both elegant and down-to-earth. Michael says I’m a lot like her, at least from what he sees on television. (I wish!) And I’m enamored by her loving relationship with her husband, Jeffrey. It reminds me of the time Michael and I spend together enjoying food and life.
The Mexican Chicken Soup was delicious and perfect for this unseasonably warm winter day. (Our high was more than 80 degrees!) It is full of shredded chicken, and the flavors are clean and bright. I also like how healthy the soup is, unless you had gobs of cheese and sour cream. We added a little grated cheddar and some toasted tortilla strips. Also, since Michael doesn’t like very spicy dishes, I only used one jalapeno pepper in the dish. It gave it a good flavor, but there was no heat at all. Next time I may try two peppers, just to give it a little kick.
Plus, I made it in a slow cooker. The chicken was oven roasted according to the recipes instructions, and I also sauteed the onions, carrots, and celery. Then I tossed everything into the slow cooker and let it go for 6 hours on low.
I’ve also included her Irish Soda Bread recipe. I left out the orange zest and currants since I was looking for just a plain bread to serve to my preschoolers. I haven’t tried it yet. I want to wait to cut it until Friday morning. But if the smell is any indication, it should be delicious!
Mexican Chicken Soup
From Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten
4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin onGood olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.
Irish Soda BreadFrom Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried currants
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Be sure to check out my fellow food bloggers to see what they prepared to honor Ina Garten:
Val - More Than Burnt ToastJoanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Claudia -A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie -Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda
Nancy - Picadillo
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Claudia – Journey of An Italian Cook
Alyce – More Time at the Table
Amrita – Beetle’s Kitchen Escapades