Story last updated at 8/8/2012 - 1:07 pm
Ahhh, the annual vacation. That anticipated rite one eagerly plans, budgets for and looks forward to each year as if their life, their very sanity depends upon it. For the past two years, my annual vacation has been to Las Vegas to visit my parents and to go to a huge roller derby conference called Rollercon. This is an event at which several thousand skaters, referees, fans and vendors gather to learn more about this fast growing sport, as well as buy derby related merchandise, watch bouts and generally spend every waking hour immersed in all things roller derby. I love it.
Las Vegas was hot. By hot, I don't mean a tiny bit warm I mean HOT. The average daily temperature was 105. It seemed like a blessing to leave rainy Juneau for a while and enjoy the warm sun. Except that it was so hot, I couldn't spend more than a few minutes outside. Kudos to those who could sit by the pool all day; I'm simply not one of them. I soon found myself missing the rain and green of Southeast Alaska.
After four days with the parents and five days of derby, and the intense heat I was ready to head home. I missed my family, my feather bed and pillow and even the rain. Most of all I missed home cooked meals. This is the part where my husband balks, and grumbles, "yeah ,right" because I do enjoy a good restaurant. But after 10 days of eating out two or three meals a day, one does tend to long for something simple and comforting.
My first day home, there was a wonderful rain storm, with lots of wind. I watched it rain sideways from my office and simply smiled. It's time for something warm and soothing. When I get cold and need something hot and filling I go for soup. Soups are by far my most favorite thing to cook. There's something about stirring a big pot of yummy that makes my day. I didn't want to spend hours cooking. Which means I want a simple soup; something that can be done in 30 minutes or less.
Taking advantage of a pre-roasted chicken from the grocery store, and a few simple canned goods, I was able to whip up a delicious soup that is warm, earthy and different, and provides a comfort food that satisfies: Chicken Enchilada Soup. Enjoying a bowlful of warmness and the smiles of my daughter because I was home to cook for the family again, definitely let me know I wasn't over the rainbow any longer.
Until next time...
Eat and enjoy,
Chicken Enchilada Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 28 oz can enchilada sauce
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz can black beans
1 14 oz can red, kidney or pinto beans
1 14 oz can corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups cooked chicken
In large pot, heat oil to medium high, add onions, garlic and diced peppers. Cook until onions are translucent, about five minutes. Add enchilada sauce, crushed tomatoes, beans and corn (do not drain beans or corn). Stir well to incorporate. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Add chili powder and red pepper flakes. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove chicken from bone and shred into bite sized pieces. Add to soup and stir well. Simmer an additional 10 minutes. All ingredients should be warmed through and ready to eat within 10-20 minutes.
Garnish with sour cream, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese and a squeeze of lime. Serve with warm tortillas.
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@ mealswithmidgi.com.