Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

So Saturday night we went to dinner with some of our favorite friends, The Fox's ... proud owners of this one, to this restaurant in North Raleigh called Cafe Capistrano.

Chad and I met them there after spending all day at a car dealership in Cary, and it literally felt like we drove to Mexico to go to this place... it was wayyyyy the heck out there. Chad, of course, was complaining... "This better be worth it."

Well Dave and Renee did not lead us astray. It was delicious.
Chad and I shared the Mahi Mahi fish tacos... which were incredible. We also all tried their chicken tortilla soup, since Renee said ahead of time that their soup was one of the best things she's ever eaten. We all ordered a cup to start (assuming that it would never live up to the hype). Well it did - and I've been craving it since.

Luckily, a reader from the News & Observer wrote in asking for the sam
e recipe a few months back and I found it!

So here you go...

Cafe Capistrano's Chicken Tortilla Soup


8 cups full-flavored chicken stock***** (see below)
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (see Note)
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
yellow corn tortilla chips (about 3 or 4 per serving), shredded Monterey Jack cheese and freshly chopped cilantro for garnish
Additional cayenne for garnish


Bring chicken stock to a slow simmer, then stir in garlic, cumin and cayenne. Add shredded chicken breast and heat for about 5 minutes to warm through and allow flavors to meld.

Ladle soup into bowls. Squeeze juice from one lime wedge into each bowl. To garnish, top with tortilla chips. Then sprinkle with a little shredded Monterey Jack cheese and chopped cilantro. If desired, add a light dusting of cayenne.

Chicken stock recipe:


4 pounds chicken legs
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt (1 tablespoon if using kosher salt)
2 bay leaves


Using a meat cleaver, cut chicken legs into 2-inch chunks.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke, then quickly add half the chicken. Saute until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining chicken, transferring to a bowl when browned.

Pour off the fat from the pot. Return all the chicken pieces to the pot and stir in onion. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes.

Stir in water, salt and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the broth is rich and flavorful, about 20 minutes.

Strain the broth into a large container. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before skimming the fat. Remove the meat from the bones and reserve separately for use in soup or another recipe.

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