May 17th, 2009

Texas Chicken Soup

Very few states have egos big enough to start naming random things after themselves. There’s the Texas Two-Step, Texas Hold’Em–heck, I guarantee you I can go to my grocery store right now and find a minimum of 5 products that come in the shape of Texas. (Of course they’ll probably all have gluten or dairy in them, so I would never buy them. Also, I simply can’t condone shapism. It’s not Colorado’s fault it’s a plain old rectangle, and they shouldn’t be looked down on for it. Sometimes you’ve gotta take a stand for what you believe in.)


But in this recipe, it’s at least a reasonably fair moniker, because it does include some very Southwestern ingredients. If you’d rather call it Arizona Chicken Soup to promote diversity among the Southwestern states, that’s fine by me. We start with about one pound of plain old chicken. (And I do mean plain–stay away from broth-injected packaged chicken, unless you like to gamble with your gluten content, which I’d hope you wouldn’t, being on this site and all.) These are some extra tenders I had leftover in the freezer, but you could do any kind of light or dark meat, it doesn’t matter. Boil them until they’re cooked through, about 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your pieces.


Drain the chicken and set the pieces aside. In the same pot (it doesn’t have to be the same pot, but why get extra dishes dirty?) pour in 4 cups of gluten-free chicken stock. Pacific Foods makes a good one. [As always, the brands I use were GFCF at the time of posting, but manufacturers can change formulas at any time. Always double-check your lablels.]


While the stock is warming up, shred the chicken pieces with two forks.


Also, measure out 1 1/2 cups of gluten-free salsa. The spice level is entirely up to you (and what your kids will tolerate.) They make some salsas that are as mild as ketchup, and others that will take a few layers of skin off your mouth. Mine is a local brand, so you’re unlikely to be able to find it in your area, but Tostitos (All-Natural line of flavors only) is another option that’s sold pretty much everywhere.

Oh and look, this one even calls itself Texasalsa. In my defense, I used to prefer a different flavor of Jardine’s 7J Ranch salsa, but that one had gluten in it, alas. Just goes to show, you can’t mentally mark whole brands as safe or not, you have to verify each individual product.


Add the chicken and salsa to the pot, and toss in some frozen corn. I guess this is probably about a cup, I just give the bag a couple of shakes until it looks right.


Also add in 2 Tablespoons of lime juice. You can cut back on this if your salsa is already on the acidic side. Mine is, but I like the extra bite anyway. And yes, the GFCFBoy likes it this way too–he’s got sensory issues with his mouth, and loves extremely spicy or sour flavors. Used to eat wasabi peas as a toddler, no joke.


Chop up about 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro. If you don’t have fresh, just skip it, don’t even bother with the dried stuff for this. Chances are decent your salsa already has some of that in it anyway. Fresh makes all the difference in the flavor here. Plus, there is evidence that cilantro is a natural detoxifier, among its many other health benefits. Some even go so far as to suggest that in the right doses it can be as effective as chelation drugs at removing heavy metals from the body, which is a topic of interest to many parents of autistic children. (And if you’re looking for other places to sneak cilantro into the diet of you or your offspring, I’ve got a nice cilantro pesto recipe that I promise I’ll post sometime soon.)

Now, I know that cilantro is a very polarizing herb; people either love it or they hate it. There are even some scientific studies confirming that a portion of the population has a genetic variance in their tongues’ chemical receptors, which sadly makes cilantro taste absolutely horrid to them. If you’re one of these people, don’t worry, there’s a community just for you. Also, if you’re one of these people, just try using parsley in this recipe instead. It won’t be the same as my soup, but I’d imagine that’s kind of what you’re going for.


Jeez, enough with the cilantro already, eh? Just scrape it into the pot and get on with it! Okay, I hear you. We’re almost done.


Season with salt to suit your tastes. Again, this depends on the base flavor of your salsa. I use about a teaspoon or so.


At this point what we’ve got is pretty thin. If you like it that way, great, but I tend to like my soups to be just a little thicker. So I mix a Tablespoon of potato starch in the minimal amount of water needed to dissolve it, and add that to the simmering pot. Sometimes I’m impatient and add two, it just depends. Another thing you can do if you want to stretch the soup further is add a cup or two of cooked white rice.


Let it simmer and reduce for as long as you like. Me, I usually just barely get everything warm enough before I start greedily ladling it into my bowl. This goes great with tortilla chips (make sure they’re 100% corn,) and even better with a side of guacamole. I gotta tell you, guacamole absolutely saved me when we first started this diet. It had that perfect creamy texture I was craving–everything that used to get cheese or sour cream on it got a heaping glop of guacamole instead. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that no combination was too weird. I was a guacamole fiend for weeks on end.

Happy Eating!

Texas Chicken Soup

1 lb. boneless chicken pieces
4 cups Pacific Foods chicken stock
1 1/2 cups GF salsa
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

2 TBS lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 TBS potato starch dissolved in water
1 cup cooked rice


1 comment to Texas Chicken Soup

  • xoxoxoBruce

    I don’t think I’ve knowingly eaten fresh cilantro, I’ll have to try it. I do know it’s locally available, they bring in trailer loads of it because it covers the smell of the pot bales.

Leave a Reply