Kenny Shopsin's Chicken Tortilla Avocado Soup

Due to popular requests, we did another Kenny Shopsin attempt.

In case you're out of the Kenny-Shopsin-Soup-Philosophy-loop, he believes that "taking two or four hours to make a soup just because the broth takes two to four hours to cook makes no sense whatsoever." So at Shopsin's General Store, he makes each soup to order, by scratch, with the stock being the only element made ahead of time. Wrap your head around that, and then wrap your head around this: In it's heyday, Shopsin's menu had close to 300 soups on it.

So for this attempt, we tried our hand at preparing the most popular soup on Shopsin's menu in the style of Kenny Shopsin.

Shopsin's version:

our version:

Kenny on making soup: "When I'm making soup, I always add the vegetables to the pan as I chop them, so the soup and I are working simultaneously toward the same end." In this soup in particular, he's keen on making sure the cabbage gets nice and brown before you add the prepared stock.

Cooking in the style of Kenny Shopsin definitely pushed me to the limits of my comfort zone in that I tend to pre-chop everything and am all about organization in the kitchen. But I was going Shopsin style, so while the cabbage browned, I started chopping the onions and jalapeno.

OH and all the while, the chicken was grilling.

With chopping, grilling and sauteing all going on, my head was close to exploding, but I also felt like a real cook in some hectic commercial kitchen, which was kind of cool?

After the cabbage had browned, we added the stock, deglazed the pan, and then added the sliced chicken, beans, and cilantro.

At this point it started looking and smelling REALLY good. This dish is also plated in classic Shopsin style -- throw tortillas in a bowl, ladle in the soup, then drop in freshly sliced avocado.

Staring at this organic Californian avocado reminds me. We have a winner! Congrats to Eva (and lucky number 13?) on winning the t-shirt giveaway!

I think this soup has officially made it's way into our normal/non-attempt dinner rotation. It really hit the spot AND start to finish, the entire process took less than 20 minutes.

Thanks, Kenny!

two 5-6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1 cup chopped yellow Spanish onion
minced hot peppers to taste
4 cups chicken stock
6 fresh cilantro sprigs
1/4 cup canned black beans, drained
salt and pepper
tortilla chips
a ripe Hass avocado, halved and pitted

Grill the chicken (Shopsin has a whole thing on how he grills chicken, but sorry, you will have to get the book to read it.) on both sides for the grill marks only, do not cook it through completely. Cut it into strips.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saute pan over high heat. Add the cabbage, onion, and peppers to the pan and let the vegetables cook until they brown in places, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the stock.

Add the chicken strips, cilantro, and black beans and simmer the soup until the chicken is cooked through and the broth is warm, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired. To serve, put a handful of tortilla chips in each of however many bowls you are using. Pour the soup over the chips, and scoop the avocado so it drops into the bowls.

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Matt said...

Best soup ever.

Jodi said...

This looks awesome. I want it.

Aaron said...

Love Kenny Shopsin! Your version looks pretty tasty.

Anonymous said...

That soup looks sooo good I bet Mombers wishes she ate chicken! Dadbers

Anonymous said...

That soup does look sooo good, but I don't wish I ate chicken! I do agree with the Shopsin method -- cook as you chop. Mombers

Anonymous said...

I ahve enjoyed your blog often anticipating what you will attempt next.

Mary Anne said...

hi ames!

that's funny--i didnt know you were such a kitchen neat freak. i definitely cook shopsin-style-- all sorts of chaos happening at once. it does drive me nuts sometimes, because i'm like a whirlwind until it's finally all over! i'm going to try YOUR calmer method!

this sounds awesome. i love chicken tortilla soups!

amelia said...

thanks, anonymous!

and MARE: I MISS YOU! come back soooon.