I love trying new recipes.  I especially love trying recipes from some of my favorite restaurants.  But I have to admit I almost always alter the recipe in some way whether for convenience or substitution if I’m short an ingredient or sometimes just because I think it sounds good.

Last week on the Texas Farm Bureau’s Texas Table Top  there was a post by Kelly Bogard featuring a recipe from one of my favorite restaurants, Reata.  Only problem was there wasn’t any meat in the recipe-The Chickenman has to have his meat.  Even though a certain unnamed Meat Judger we know says, “Chicken is not meat.  It is an alternative protein source-like beans”,  I decided to add some chicken, meat, protein-whatever you want to call it!

So to the recipe from the Table Top post I added four grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts that I had seasoned with Texas Tech Raider Red Meats new Steak Seasoning.I just fired up the gas grill and threw them on.  Always be sure when cooking chicken to get it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees for safety-use a meat thermometer.  Here’s a great source for information about chicken from the USDA.

Another note on the recipe is that it calls for heavy cream-The Chickenman called me from the grocery in a tizzy because he couldn’t find anything labeled “heavy cream”.  FYI-heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are essentially the same thing: cream that contains 36 percent or more milk fat. Whipping cream is a bit lighter, with only 30 percent milk fat. I used heavy whipping cream because I like to channel Paula Dean when cooking. 🙂

It turned out great and don’t let the jalapeno turn you off thinking it will be too hot-it is not.  Seeding and removing the flesh from inside the peppers greatly reduces their bite.  Oh be very careful when handling these peppers or they will be burning you hours later-wear gloves if you have some. Also be very careful not to touch your eyes-Yikes!

So here’s the revised recipe:

Reata’s Jalapeno Cilantro Soup with Chicken

1⁄2 tbsp. unsalted butter

5 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

2 tbsp. garlic, minced

3⁄4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1 avocado, peeled and diced

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

8 cups heavy cream (use the highest fat content available)

kosher salt (you can use regular)

freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped (I love cilantro but The Chickenman only tolerates it so I only used about half of the bunch)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts seasoned with Raider Red Steak Seasoning diced.

Dice the jalapeno, onions and garlic. In a large pot, melt butter and cook the diced vegetables over medium heat until cooked through. Chop the tomatoes and avocado and add them to the pot and stir. Add the diced chicken and stir.  Remove the pot from the heat and slowly add the cream. Stir constantly to avoid scalding. Return the pot to the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to reduce the soup down to your desired thickness, and mix in the chopped cilantro just before serving.

We had ours with tortilla chips and mexican cervezas!  YUM!

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