Saturday, January 3, 2009

AMFD (Acute Mexican Food Deprivation)

I am a firstborn child, and this in turn tends to make me a bit bossy.

It's not my fault. It's a scientific fact that firstborns tend to be orderly, organized, bossy, and dominant.

I heard it once on one of those morning shows and read about it in Time magazine.

I also have a couple younger siblings and an extremely tolerant husband (who happens to be the baby of five) who wholeheartedly agree with this harsh reality.

Normally I try to suppress it. But today? Today bossy is good. Because you will be happy when I exercise my authority and tell you to go out right now and buy the ingredients to make this soup and then go straight home and make it. I'm telling you, do it today(!).

I do love all food. French, German, Italian, they're all great. But my husband tells me that I must have been a Mexican in a past life for I do love Mexican food. My family tires of it sometimes. But I never do. A friend of mine once told me that when she and her husband moved to Europe for a year, the thing she missed most about home was Mexican food. She even went through withdrawals and we came up with a name for her condition: AMFD, Acute Mexican Food Deprivation. It is curable, but only by eating buckets of salsa or visiting a Ted's Escondido (a locally owned restaurant.)Consequently, this harsh reality of a life without Mexican food was more than I could bear. It has ruined all dreams I have ever had of living on the other side of the pond. A life without Mexican food is, well, unimaginable.

So now you can see why it came as no surprise to me to find that my favorite new soup is now Yucatan Chicken-Lime Soup.

I found this recipe in The Daily Soup Cookbook. And one of the things I liked best about it is that I had most of it's ingredients on hand: chicken, rice, cilantro, Mexican oregano and chipotle chili's are staples in my house.

One ingredient, however, avocado leaves, are a little more difficult to come by. Not too many avocado trees in Oklahoma. So I had to do without. But this gives me something to look forward to. First chance I get, I'm driving to a local asian market (they have just about everything) to see if I can find some avocado leaves there and then I'll be headed straight home again to try out another batch of this soup. I have never cooked with avocado leaves before, so if anyone knows what they are like, please let me know.

Another ingredient I used in place of the chopped, dried chipotle pepper, was dried chipotle granules, which I found in the spice isle at Supertarget. One whiff of this potent little gem of a spice, and you'll appreciate their fiery, smoky flavor. I always keep 'em on hand. And the bossy, big sis in me says that you should too.

This soup begins with a rich, succulent, chicken broth, surrounded with an intoxicating aroma of dried chipotle chili, and canned chipotle in adobo sauce, along with a hint of epozate and generous amounts of fresh, chopped onion, verdant bell peppers, garlic, rice, and chicken making up the body of the soup. Then topping it off with plenty of fresh lime juice, chopped green onion and cilantro. I feel obliged to warn you, however, this is an addictive soup. And, as usual, my picture doesn't do it justice. But if you like Mexican food and Tortilla Soup, I suggest you try this recipe. Just remember to go easy on the chipotle peppers, they're pretty hot.


Proud Italian Cook said...

I'm going to listen to your bossy self and go out and pick up some fresh cilantro and chipole tomarrow when I go shopping. I have everything else except epozate????
(What is it?) I know this soup is going to be good, and it even sounds healthy, which I need desperately!!

Michelle said...

Hi Marie-
Epozate is just Mexican Oregano, which used to be difficult to find, but I found some at my local grocery store in that McCormick jar with the red lid. You could use a pinch of regular Oregano "in a pinch" but I've grown to like this epozate stuff. Let me know how it turns out.

Linda said...

I'm also a bossy first-born and my husband is the youngest of 7. I also LOVE Mexican food, but my husband does not.

He will tolerate a mild version of tacos or fajitas, and yes, maybe I could tone down his portion of this yummy-sounding soup!

I'm glad to see your new post and looking forward to more delicious ideas. Happy 2009, Michelle!

Terri said...


I am also the oldest of five, as is my husband. We wind up bossing each other around.

I am a native Californian (with four avocado trees in my backyard) transplanted in Arkansas and I often suffer from AMFD. This soup will definitely help alleviate my symtoms.

I know I will never be able to find avocado leaves in Arkansas, so I took a quick look around the internet and found a place to purchase them and thought I'd share it with you:

Have a great week!

Michelle said...

Glad to know I am in such good company with other firstborn's who LOVE Mexican food. Maybe your husband will come around someday and start enjoying it too.

Thanks for letting me know about this website that sells Avocado leaves, I will definitely look into that. I would be difficult moving from a state with Avocado trees, like California, but I visited Eureka this summer and had a fantastic time.

Greg Turner said...

This soup sounds so wonderful! I wonder how it would work without the cilantro? (my wife is one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap)

Jess said...

My husband is part Mexican and appreciates anything spicy, fried and wrapped in a tortilla. (I've seen him wrap leftover pot roast and potatoes in a tortilla, which to me, was disgusting.)I may just treat him to this soup, minus the cilantro, because I think he would agree with the previous post, that cilantro tastes like soap.

Michelle said...

This soup would be just fine without the cilantro. No problem at all. Let me know how it turns out!

I am by no means an expert on Mexican cooking, so I don't know how "authentic" cilantro really is, but it does add a nice freshness to the dish, however, as I told Greg, the dish would be just fine without. Also, one of my favorite snacks is a little leftover pork, wrapped in a tortilla with potato, Cotija, or queso fresco, or whatever's lying around ... with a sprinkling of cilantro on top. Yum.