Cinco de Mayo Hangover Soup

I’ll admit it.  On the week of Cinco de Mayo, I’ll always fall prey to the marketing ploys of grocery stores (ex. limes, tortilla chips, Mexican beer, and guacamole components displayed prominently at the front of the store)  I’ve also been known to throw back a few more than I should on a day that doesn’t really have any significance to this Italian/Slovenian girl.  Hey, “when in Rome….errrr, Mexico City…” Right?  This recipe is for those of you who fall into one, or both of those same categories.  

Earlier this week I made chicken fajitas with fresh guacamole, hands down my favorite dish to order at a Mexican restaurant and one of my favorites to make at home as well.  So on day two, I found myself with some leftover chicken, black beans (both cooked), jalapenos, avocado, roasted corn and cilantro.  Rather than transforming the flavor profile of the meat (silly, since it was already heavily seasoned) I chose to make something new with some of the same ingredients I worked with the day before.

leftover chicken fajitas

I don’t know about you, but when I’m working through a hangover, I often like to “sweat it out.”  So I decided to bring the heat…and put these, and a few other ingredients, together to create a Cheftovers version of tortilla soup.

simmering mexican veggies

I chose a dutch oven for this project, and started with chopped garlic, jalapenos and onion.  I sauteed those in some canola oil until the onions were translucent, just a couple minutes.  Then I tossed in the roasted corn and season chicken (chopped into small pieces) I had leftover from “fajita night.”  Next, I cracked open a can of petite diced tomatoes and poured those in.  And since this was a soup, it certainly needed some stock.  I added a carton of chicken stock, making sure to season it generously with salt, and chipotle chili pepper to add some more, smokey heat to my “soup-to-be.”

adding ingredients to cinco de mayo soup

Finally, I tossed in a few sprigs of fresh cilantro, and squeezed a couple of lime wedges’ worth of juice into the pot to give it some brightness and acidity.

simmering cinco de mayo hangover soup

I brought the soup to a boil, then reduced the heat and let it simmer at a medium/low for about a half hour.  Toward the end, I tossed in the leftover black beans (didn’t want them to get too mushy or break down from being in there too long).  I tasted my soup and decided to add just a little more chipotle pepper and a bit more lime juice (a preference thing).  Now, it was time for some elaborate garnishes, since I had some on hand.

finishing the cinco de mayo soup

After scooping out a couple ladles full of my Cinco de Mayo Hangover Soup, I sliced up some fresh avocado and jalapenos, then tossed in a few more sprigs of cilantro.

cinco de mayo hangover soup

You could also add some crunchy baked tortilla strips for texture, or some shredded cheese.

Vamos a comer!  Let’s eat!  This soup should make you sweat as much, or as little as you want…and help you get to Seis de Mayo.  Now, I gotta ask…What’s your favorite hangover meal?

 

“sCRUMBtious” Shrimp

I like potato chips a whole lot.  And it always pains me to toss the end of the bag away, along with all those perfectly good crumbs.  But until this week, the only way I knew to consume them was through a very undignified method of upending the bag and pouring them into my mouth.  Not ladylike.

I love to take a whole Sunday afternoon and just experiment in the kitchen.  This week I was able to try out a handful of things.  Some things worked, some didn’t (I’ll spare you the details of the failures).  The results of what did work was pretty damned tasty.  Potato Chip Crusted Shrimp with a pair of dipping sauces, Honey Sriracha and Chipotle BBQ.

leftover Lays

I grabbed the remnants of what was a jumbo bag of Lays chips out of my cupboard and crushed them inside the bag (less mess!!) I used my hands and a rolling pin.  When then were almost the size of bread crumbs I was satisfied.

potato chip crumbs

Since the chips were already moist (and seasoned) and the shrimp I was working with were wet, I chose to skip the usual 3-step breading process: flour, egg and breading…and just go right to the breading.  The coating would probably stick better with the standard method, but I was looking to use up my calorie count with the chips instead of the flour and egg.  I coated the shrimp in the potato chips crumbs and thought it best to move quickly before they dried and fell off.

potato chip coated shrimp

A chef friend of mine, Brandt Evans, taught me how to make pretzel crusted trout, and one of his tricks was to add oil (about a tablespoon of canola) to a cold pan and then put the seafood in, to avoid burning the coating.  I tried that in this case, and it worked well.  It goes against what most of us know, but it’s the right call here.

fried potato chip crusted shrimp

This step just took a few minutes on the frying pan.  I put it on medium/high heat and they were golden brown in only about 3 minutes.  Now, prior to browning up the shrimp, I started experimenting with the dipping sauces.  First thought: Honey Sriracha.  I’m very in to “sweet heat” nowadays.  And it was done in no time at all.  I just put a couple of teaspoons of honey in a ramekin and heated it up so it would mix well with a dash of Sriracha, my new favorite hot sauce.  This step is up to you, however hot or sweet you want it.  Find your happy place.

chipolte BBQ sauce

If you don’t keep Sriracha in your fridge, try a Chipotle BBQ variety instead.  I just put a couple of tablespoons of BBQ sauce in another ramekin, and added a dash of chipotle chili, and the same amount of cumin for some smokey flavor.  I fired that up in the microwave to heat it up.  Both sauces were good.  But I preferred the Honey Sriracha.

The end result of this experiment was a great appetizer.  But you could certainly apply this to a larger volume of shrimp and be pretty satisfied!  I encourage you to try something in the kitchen this week…and report back!