This is a good one. I first came up with a variation of it looking for a way to get creative with some smoked fish on a camping trip. I usually use chicken now, because it’s more typical I’ll have some leftover smoked chicken on hand. It was perfect for this past Labor Day Weekend, because I had just happened to have some applewood-smoked chicken left over from a barbeque, and I have a ton of tomatoes and jalapeno peppers from the garden. The combination of spiciness, smokiness and citric flavors (from the lime juice) work together fantastically.
- Smoked or Barbecued Chicken
- 30 oz. Chicken Stock
- 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes or several fresh tomatoes
- 1 Green Pepper
- 3-5 Jalapeno Peppers
- 1 Large Onion
- 4-5 Cloves Garlic
- 3-4 Celery Stalks
- 2 Carrots (optional)
- Juice of 1 Large or 2 Small Limes
- Black Pepper to taste
- 1/2 Tsp. Thyme
- 1 Tsp. Oregano
- 2-3 Bay Leaves
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
I added carrots for a little extra color this time, but I usually don’t add carrots to this, so I consider them optional. What I DON’T consider optional is the lime juice and the jalapenos. If you don’t want it to be too spicy I’d recommend cutting out the seeds and the ribs that attach the seeds to the inside of the jalapeno peppers, instead of using fewer peppers or leaving them out altogether.
Dice up vegetables. Dice or shred chicken. Squeeze lime juice and set aside.
Cook diced peppers, onion celery and garlic in olive oil until they soften up. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, and the rest of the ingredients except for the chicken and lime juice.
Note: Even though I had some frozen home-made chicken stock on hand, I just used canned chicken stock for this soup. I like to save the good stock for recipes that benefit the most from the flavor and richness of the home-made stock, but this soup has so much going for it flavor-wise I decided to save the good stock. You may disagree, and decide to use good stock for this if you have it.
Simmer for about 1/2 hour, add the chicken and simmer for another 20 minutes to 1/2 hour (since the chicken is already cooked, I don’t add it right away but I like to let it simmer long enough to let the smoky flavor mix in). Add the lime juice at the end, after the soup is done cooking– if you add it at the beginning the lime flavor won’t be as “bright”.
Serve with pasta or rice. You could even dice up some potatoes and throw them in, same time as the chicken. I usually prefer rice, but I had some pasta left over from the day before, so I used that in the photo.