Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chicken Fiesta Soup

Cheddar is a cheese distinguished by process, not place. The name “Cheddar” is not protected, as some other names in the food world, so Cheddar can be made literally anywhere, by anyone. That can result in better availability and cheaper, but both frequently come at a price, that is to say, a lesser cheese comes at a lower price. Traditional raw milk Cheddar can be hard to find these days, and the industrial stuff turned out so inexpensively doesn’t deserve the Cheddar name. Sadly, that’s the only type many people know.

Once the cheese is out of the hoop or mold, it is aged to the desired degree. English Cheddar is wrapped with cheesecloth, a method called “bandaging” and often develops mold on its exterior, a natural consequence of the aging process. Young Cheddar might be aged for just a few weeks or months. It will be a semi-hard cheese with a smooth, slightly crumbly texture and a mild flavor. The longer a Cheddar ages, the sharper its flavor and the more crumbly its texture will become.

American consumers are familiar with designations such as “mild,” “medium,” “sharp,” and even “extra sharp”; these designations are in the eye or taste buds of the manufacturer. There’s no standard for aging time.  But as the saying goes, time is money, so Cheddars aged for longer times will be more expensive and harder to find, not many manufacturers want to take the time or trouble to age their Cheddar for more than 4 years. Are they worth the extra cost and effort? It’s up to you, it depends what you like.
Research Source: The Nibble

How about soup for dinner? Oh yeah, you betcha!

Chicken Fiesta Soup
Copyrighted 2013, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.

1tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (10.5 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (32 oz.) container chicken broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked rice
crush tortilla chips
cheddar cheese

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat, add onions, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, stirring, cook for 4 minutes, add garlic, and cook another minute. Add cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin and stir. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add cooked chicken pieces, black beans and rice, stir and simmer another 10 minutes. Garnish with crush tortilla chips and cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

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