From Helen Rosner
Serves 6-10, depending on how hungry you are
[Ed: Our first Brooklyn soup! I didn’t get a photo of it myself, so I stole this (undoubtedly better) one from Helen, who has more to say about the night and the soup over on her blog, here. Says she, in her note to me, “My soup is kind of embarrassing, in that it uses almost entirely store-bought elements. You could do it with homemade components, which was my original plan, but I wound up short on time and what I wound up making was super-speedy.” To which, say I, “No shame in store-bought!” It was really good.]
Ingredients4 tablespoons olive oil 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat coarsely shredded (about 3 cups) (Keep the carcass to make stock!) 6 cloves garlic, minced 1 small jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced 8 cups chicken stock 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (or, if it’s summer, fresh tomatoes: skinned, seeded, and diced, juice reserved) pinch cumin pinch onion powder (not onion salt) 2 tablespoons salt juice of 4 limes (about 1/2 cup) 1 teaspoon hot sauce* (see below) 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Garnishtortilla chips diced avocado minced cilantro sour cream lime wedges hot sauce
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat, saute the garlic until fragrant, about 20-30 seconds. Add the minced jalapeno and saute another 10-15 seconds. Dump in the shredded chicken and incorporate the garlic/pepper mixture; turn up the heat to medium. Folding constantly, saute until the garlic is just barely browning, then remove from the pot and reserve.
Combine the chicken stock, tomatoes, spices, salt, and lime juice in the pot and heat until simmering. Add the lime juice and hot sauce and return to a simmer, skimming any foam. Stir in the reserved chicken/garlic/chili mixture. Return to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes and chicken are slightly disintegrated.
While the soup is simmering, prepare the garnishes: Dice avocado (toss it with lime juice to keep it from browning), mince the cilantro, slice limes into wedges, crush your tortilla chips, whatever is to your taste.
Just before serving, remove the soup from the heat and stir in the white wine vinegar. Serve: I prefer to fill the bowls with the tortilla chips first, then the soup, then the other garnishes, but it’s all the same in the end.
*A note on the hot sauce: I used Sriracha, which I use for everything. You could of course substitute something more tortilla-appropriate like Cholula, but the key is a sauce that’s as much about flavor as heat. Even if you like things spicy, I’d advise against adding extra hot sauce to the cooking soup to taste – the broth should be clear and almost delicate, with a balance among the meaty chicken, sour lime, sweet tomato, and hot sauce. (This is basically a kluged Mexican-style Tom Yum.) Serve extra hot sauce alongside the garnishes and add to taste when serving, instead.