I spend a ton of time with the Food Network chefs. They come in to my home, tell me stories about the dishes they make, and I feel like I have a special relationship with each of then.
Rachael Ray was one of my favorites to begin with. Her food is fun, not overly complicated or fussy. I have a few go-to recipes that came from Rachael's kitchen.
Rach also gave* me her cookbook 365 Days No Repeats, and I must admit I made a few recipes from there and I don't love all of them. Some fell a little bit flat in the flavor department, so you have to take her recipes with a grain of salt (literally!). Don't skimp on any ingredient that adds flavor and definitely taste it and add more seasoning as needed.
I was browsing some of her recipes online when I saw this one: Chicken Tortilla Soup with Chipotle and Fire Roasted Tomatoes
First reaction, Yumm-O! Quick, get out the EVOO and the Official RR Garbage Bowl** and let's get cooking. Not that easy, I went to three different grocery stores until I finally found the star ingredient: chipotle in adob0. I had never used it before but seen it on Food Network many times. It kind of reminds me of roasted red peppers, but in a spicy brown adobo sauce. I was looking for a jar but it actually comes in a little can. I found it in the Mexican section at the Commissary at Fort Lee. The Commissary always has good international ingredients, probably because military families who have lived overseas have some diverse tastes. Sad news is, you have to have a military ID or be with someone who has one to make purchases.
Now that I had successfully hunted down the chipotles I was ready to get cooking! Once I had the soup going I realized without the toppings and chiles it was basically just some canned tomatoes and some poached chicken. Yumm-O? More like Lame-O! Those peppers better be good.
I started with one (Rach called for two) because I am a pansy when it comes to spicy stuff. Wow, the soup tasted awesome! I added a couple big spoonfuls of the adobo sauce and the spice level was perfect. The flavor sort of reminds me of cumin, smokey and flavorful but not overly hot. My whole family loved it. For a minute there my parents were actually happy that I am temporarily crashing their empty nest. You must try this recipe! And check back here to see what I decide to do with the rest of the chipotles in adobe!!
* OK, so maybe my mom gave it to me, but my story is more fun.
** I don't actually own the Official Rachel Ray Garbage Bowl, but I've seen them in stores and it makes me chuckle that someone would actually buy a garbage bowl.