|Recipes : The Good Fat Cookbook
This is my version of a soup that California food writer Jacqueline McMahan found in a little cafe in Tonala, Mexico. The original version is made with homemade chicken broth--and in Mexico that usually includes chicken feet, as well as a lot of other tasty items--but I've cheated a bit and made it with an enriched canned broth. The soup is bland and comforting without the chile; with it, it's lively and zesty. When you serve the soup, tell diners to stir it very well, so the avocado is distributed all through the broth.
Making the soup begins just the way making guacamole begins, with mashed avocado and salt in the bottom of each soup bowl. With chicken, a little cheese, and a topping of creme fraiche or sour cream, this terrific low-carb soup is a meal in itself.
Two 14.5-ounce cans or one 32-ounce package low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 onion, cut in half
1 garlic clove, smashed
Salt and pepper
1 double chicken breast, preferably with skin and bones
2 ripe avocados, cut in half
1 jalapeno chile, minced, optional
Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
About 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
4 tablespoons of creme fraiche or sour cream, optional
Crumbled Mexican white cheese, optional
Combine the chicken broth and water in a medium saucepan with the onion, garlic, and a little salt and pepper, and heat. Cut the chicken into 4 pieces and add to the broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then turn down the heat and cook at a slow simmer, partially covered, for about 12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through but still tender. Remove the chicken breast and let cool. Strain the broth.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and shred the meat. Correct the seasoning of the broth.
When ready to serve, reheat the chicken broth until it's piping hot. Meanwhile, scoop out the flesh from an avocado half and mash it roughly in the bottom of each of the four soup bowls, adding 1/4 of the optional jalapeno. Add salt to taste and a little lime juice; mash well.
Pour the hot broth over the mashed avocado in the soup bowls, divide the shredded chicken among them, and top with cilantro leaves and a spoonful of creme fratche. If you're using the cheese, scatter it over the top. Serve the soup immediately, with lime wedges on the side.
Cook's Note: You can make the chicken several hours ahead and just assemble the soup at the last minute.
Chipotle chile (smoked jalapeno) is great in this soup. You can blend up a small can of chipotle in adobo and offer it on the table, so guests can take a little and swirl it into their soup. Or you can do as they do in Mexico: Float a whole chipotle in each soup bowl. Chile aficionados can take little bites of the chile as it softens in the soup.
Granola with Coconut and Berries
Granola's like money in the bank--good over yogurt, good over fruit, good just to have a handful for a snack. If you make your own, you can be sure it's made with good fats and high-quality ingredients, which isn't always the case with store-bought granola. This one has both coconut and coconut oil, as well as lots of nuts and good antioxidant berries.
Makes about 4 cups
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened dried coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup dried blaeberries or cranberries
Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spread the coconut out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring often, until it is just turning golden, about 10 minutes; watch carefully, because it burns easily. Transfer the coconut to a small bowl and set aside. Leave the oven on.
Bring the coconut oil, maple syrup, and lemon zest to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; remove from the heat. Place the remaining ingredients except the coconut and the berries in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Add the syrup mixture and mix until well combined. Spread the mixture in a 1/2-inch-thick layer on a baking sheet; set the bowl aside.
Bake, stirring often, until the granola is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Return the granola to the large bowl, stir in the coconut and berries, and mix well. The granola will keep for a month, tightly sealed in a screw-top jar.