Green Posole with Shredded Chicken

Green Posole Verde with Chicken

Is there anything better on a cold winter’s night than a warm bowl of chicken soup?

I think not.

The way the warm broth slips down your throat and warms you from the inside out. The steam from the bowl wafting up over your face, bathing you in the rich smells of chicken and vegetables. It simply can’t be beat.

While I LOVE a good chicken noodle, I also really love posole. (Do I really have to remind you of my obsession with Mexican food? I didn’t think so ūüėČ ).

There are different types of posole, but generally they include some sort of slow-simmered meat, a flavorful broth (either green and tomatillo based or red chile based), and tender grains of hominy.

What’s hominy?

It’s basically dried corn kernels that have been softened by soaking them in a mixture of lime or wood ash (or in modern times, sometime lye).

The process is called nixtamalization, and it results in tender white kernels that look sort of like mushy corn nuts. (appealing, I know)

But soaking the kernels in lime or ash also gives hominy a nutritional boost.

Without the soaking, our bodies cannot access the vitamin B3 (niacin) in the corn kernels. This is a problem for people who rely on corn as a major food source. They need every vitamin and mineral they can get!

Without enough niacin in the diet, a¬†deficiency disease develops called pellagra. Signs of pellagra are the 3 “D’s”: Diarrhea, Dementia, & Dermatitis, and if untreated, can even lead to death!

Yikes!

Yes, this actually happened back in the day when American settlers tried to use corn as a staple in their diet without following the customs of the native people. Without soaking the corn first, they were unable to access and absorb the vitamin B3 (niacin) in their food and pellagra ran wild.

Thankfully, our modern diets are typically rich in niacin, and pellagra is now uncommon in America. Phew!

Ancient wisdom saves the day!

Posole Verde with Chicken and Hominy

So anyways, back to my hominy soup.

I’m obsessed with green posole with shredded chicken and ALL the toppings.

I mean all.

This soup becomes a hearty meal once you top it with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream and/or cheese, avocado, radish, cilantro, onion, lettuce, lime, and hot sauce.

The sour cream melts into the broth and makes it gorgeously light green and creamy, while the radish, lettuce, and tortilla strips give each bite texture and crunch. When you take a bite, the tangy broth makes your tastebuds dance and sing. You’ll start in, and 2 seconds later, wonder where all the soup went as you reach the bottom of the bowl.

It’s that good.

Perfect to enjoy family style on a cool winter’s night, or serve at a party for everyone to top their bowl to their liking. Have fun with it!

Close Up Shot of Chicken Posole Verde

Green Posole with Shredded Chicken

Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 lb fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved if large
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 large poblano peppers, seeds, stem, and core removed, each cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 small serrano pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 50 oz canned hominy, drained
  • Your choice of toppings:¬†Shredded iceberg lettuce or cabbage, , thinly sliced radish or jicama, diced avocado, minced white onion, sour cream or crema, shredded monterey jack cheese or queso fresco, minced cilantro, crispy tortilla strips or crumbled tortilla chips, lime wedges, and Tapatio.

Instructions

  • Pour the chicken broth and water into a large enameled dutch oven. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts from the cooking liquid and place on a plate to cool. Keep the cooking liquid for later.
  • While the chicken cools, add the tomatillos, onion, garlic, poblanos, serrano, cilantro, and oregano to the blender. Scoop 1 cup of the chicken cooking liquid into the blender as well. Pulse until combined, then blend until smooth.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the tomatillo puree and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 or 15 minutes, until the sauce has turned dark green.
  • As the sauce cooks, shred the chicken breasts and discard the skin and bones. Add the shredded chicken and the hominy to the pot with the chicken broth. When the tomatillo sauce is done simmering, pour it into the pot as well. Bring to a simmer, then ladle into bowls and top with all the toppings your heart desires!

Based on one of my favorite recipes: Mexican Chicken Pozole Verde by Anya Von Bremen.

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Sausage and Fennel Soup with Gouda Croutons

Sausage and Fennel Soup with Gouda Croutons

Soup croutons.

Previously reserved only for rich winter soups like French onion, these cheesy obey gooey bites of deliciousness belong on everything!

I mean think about it. Most people usually serve soup with a giant hunk of bread and a generous sprinkling of cheese anyways. Why not top the soup with croutons, and get a nice piece of cheesy bread in every bite?

They are super easy to make. Just slice up your baguette (or buy a pre-sliced baguette from the grocery store), top with grated cheese (I think gouda and gruyere are the best), and bake for 15 minutes in the oven. The cheese gets melty and bubbly, and the baguette pieces get nice and golden and crispy.

When you float them on the soup, they quickly absorb the broth, soften, and become easy to break up with a spoon. Then you can easily stir them into the soup to thicken it and add extra texture and flavor to each bite.

Sausage and Fennel Soup with Cheesy Gouda Croutons

This sausage & fennel soup pairs perfectly with soup croutons.

It has chunks of spicy Italian sausage and a whole lot of fennel. Like, every part of the fennel plant (yay, no waste!). The bulb is chopped and used just like onion, the stalks are sliced and used like celery, and the fronds are chopped and swirled into the soup at the end of the cooking time and function like fresh herbs.

Of course, there’s also classic carrot, tomato, garlic, and a whole bunch of greens in the soup. It’s super nutritious, full of fiber and phytonutrients, plus some protein from the sausage. It makes you feel warm and satisfied without being too heavy. And it keeps really well in the fridge all week. Enjoy!

Sausage and Fennel Soup with Baked Gouda Croutons

Sausage and Fennel Soup with Gouda Croutons

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 lb raw spicy Italian sausage, 2 large links, casings removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 small fennel bulbs, cored and diced
  • 1 cup sliced fennel stalks, fronds removed
  • 1 large handful fresh fennel fronds, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 1/3 cup sauvignon blanc white wine
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 5 oz baby spinach or greens (I used Earthbound Farms Power Trio with baby chard, kale, and spinach)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, diced
  • 1 long baguette, sliced into thin rounds
  • 8 oz gouda cheese, shredded
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large enameled dutch oven or other large heavy bottomed pot. Add the Italian sausage and cook over medium-high heat, using a spatula to break up the sausage as it cooks. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the sausage is nicely browned. Use a spatula to remove the sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  • Add the diced onion and diced fennel bulbs to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes until softened. Add the carrot and fennel stalks and cook an additional 5 minutes until they are also softened. Add the minced garlic, reserved sausage, and thyme. Stir, and cook for just about a minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the sauvignon blanc and cook for a minute until slightly evaporated. Pour in the chicken stock & bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid from the pot and stir in the baby greens, tomato, and fennel fronds. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes until the greens are wilted, then turn off the heat.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the baguette slices out on the parchment paper. Top each slice with a bit of shredded gouda, evenly dividing it among all the slices. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted. You can also quickly broil the cheesy bread pieces for a minute or two for a quicker result.
  • When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with cheesy croutons. Enjoy!
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24 Hour Crockpot Bone Broth

Crockpot Bone Broth in Mason Jars

Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more clients¬†with suspected gut hyperpermeability (aka “leaky gut”).

“Leaky gut” is a pretty trendy topic these days.

A quick google search brings up over 4 million hits on the topic!

Some people like to discount any trendy nutrition topic as a “fad”, much like they did for gluten sensitivity a few years ago. But I believe that where there’s smoke there’s fire, and searching for leaky gut IS so popular because it actually IS affecting a lot of people!

Let’s face it, our guts are a mess these days.

With the onslaught of antibiotics, low-fiber refined foods, preservatives & food additives, medications, stress, and low self-care lifestyles, we’ve got a¬†recipe for disaster.

As we learn more and more about our microbiome (the bacteria that live in our gut), we’ve come to understand¬†how our diet, medications, and lifestyle can affect the number and proportions of the bacteria in our gut. For a full recap of what factors affect your microbiome, and how to keep yours healthy, check out this article.

I’m not going into a full-fledged discussion of leaky gut in this article, but I’ll give you a short recap:

  • Basically, in a healthy digestive system, you chew your food & swallow it, and it enters the stomach where it is mashed into liquidy paste by your stomach muscles and hydrochloric acid.
  • Then, your stomach slowly releases small boluses of liquid food (known as chyme), into your small intestine.¬†The small intestine is where your food is further broken down into its smallest components and then absorbed across the cells of the small intestine and into the bloodstream.
  • In a healthy small intestine, the cells that make up the lining of the intestine (called enterocytes), are tightly packed next to each other. There isn’t any room for anything to squeeze through the cracks. In order for food to be absorbed, it has to go through the enterocytes first. This allows the small intestine to control what gets absorbed, and make sure it’s mostly absorbing completely digested food particles.
  • In contrast, in a person with leaky gut,¬†the enterocytes are NOT squeezed tightly together. Instead, they have gaps in-between them, and undigested food particles can “leak” through these cracks directly into your bloodstream.
  • When this happens, your immune system freaks out and detects the food particles as invaders. It launches a full blown attack on these “unfriendly” food particles, causing inflammatory symptoms in the body (ouch!).

Leaky gut can be caused by many things, but it’s especially common when people have SIBO- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. In SIBO, healthy gut bacteria that are normally supposed to be in your colon, have made their way backward up the digestive tract and colonized the small intestine. That’s bad news bears!

SIBO kicks off a whole host of digestive issues, especially extreme bloating after meals, and begins a cascade of inflammation that can lead to leaky gut.

Once leaky gut is in play, people feel even WORSE because their immune system then starts reacting to almost everything they eat!

For many people, eradicating the SIBO with antibiotics & then reinoculating with probiotics is the best way to “reset” the gut & start w. a clean slate. Then, once the trigger causing the leaky gut is removed, you can start healing the gut tissue.

There are lots of things you can do to “heal your gut”, including taking supplements like l-glutamine, zinc carnosine, phosphatidylcholine, and butyrate, and eating foods rich in collagen, like bone broth.¬†

Bone broth is basically just regular broth that is simmered for an extra long time.

Like, at least 8 hours, and ideally a full 24. The easiest way to do this, by far, is with the crockpot. Just throw everything in there, set it, and forget it. No need to worry about keeping a burner on overnight, just leave the thing plugged in and enjoy how awesome your house smells.

There are a few tricks to delicious tasting bone broth:

  • Roast those bones!! Skipping this step is a recipe for mild, “off” tasting broth. Roasting the bones brings out a delicious depth of flavor you can’t get any other way. The easiest way to do this is to just use a roasted chicken carcass. Enjoy all the meat and skin for dinner, then put the remaining skeleton into the crockpot & simmer overnight. You’ll wake up the next day with some delicious nourishing broth to sip on.
  • Add a splash of vinegar.¬†Upping the acidity levels in the broth can help leach more of the minerals out of the bones and into the broth for your enjoyment.
  • Use aromatics.¬†You can totally make a plain bone broth without any vegetables or herbs, but the results are a little one-note. Of course, if you are currently suffering from food sensitivities, plain might be the best way to go, but if you’re just making broth to enjoy as a warming and nutritious beverage, by all means, flavor it up! I usually use the traditional broth seasonings: onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, but you can totally get creative here.
  • Go low and slow.¬†Simmering your broth on too high of heat can denature some of the collagen proteins and make it less likely to gel when cooled. The better philosophy is to cook it low and slow for a long time to get the highest quality broth.

The end product is a savory warming beverage you can enjoy as a coffee or tea substitute.

It’s like drinking a mug of warm chicken soup without any of the chunky pieces!

By simmering the broth for hours and hours, you basically break down the bone and cartilage so that the minerals and proteins are now in the broth. No joke, the bones should be soft enough to crumble between your fingers by the end of the cooking time.

Bone broth gives you a nice serving of all the bone minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, fluoride, sodium, and potassium, and some unique proteins from the cartilage, like chondroitin, keratin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. While there haven’t been any actual research studies on the health benefits of bone broth, it’s such a traditionally nourishing food (we’ve been making broth/soup for thousands of years), that I don’t see anything wrong with trying it out and seeing how you feel! I personally believe it’s a delicious and nutritious beverage option that can be a great addition to your diet.

Cheers!

Warm Crockpot Bone Broth in a Mug

24 Hour Crockpot Bone Broth

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 d
Total Time1 d 5 mins
Servings: 1 crockpot full
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover roasted chicken carcass
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 organic yellow onion, halved, peels left on
  • 2 carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Generous sprinkle of black peppercorns
  • Generous sprinkle of rock salt
  • Water to cover

Instructions

  • Place the roasted chicken carcass in the body of a large electric slow cooker. Add the apple cider vinegar, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Pour water over the top to cover the chicken.
  • Cover with the lid and cook on low for 24 hours, or until the bones of the chicken crumble when pressed between your fingers. When it‚Äôs done cooking, ladle the broth through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer to remove the solids. Let cool slightly, then store in lidded mason jars in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy as a warming beverage in the morning instead of coffee, or as an afternoon pick me up.
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