p>There are a number of possible answers to that question, but my current summer favorite is chicken-tortilla soup. You can do this with bones, bones and meat, a whole chicken, stock and some breasts, whatever you have, but since we have some smaller whole chickens available from some roosters that went in the freezer and need using up, that's what we are doing.
Make a big pot of chicken broth with bones or a whole chicken. 10 quarts is good. 12 might be safer, though ;-).
Sautee onions, carrots, some peppers if you have them, maybe a finely diced sweet potato or two and fresh chiles if you are using them until soft and sweet. Add cumin, garlic, chile powder, oregano and chipotle powder (the latter if your tastes run that way) to taste.
Add several jars of home canned diced tomatoes and some chopped chiles or a couple of cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles. Some frozen corn or some home-canned corn or some fresh-roasted corn cut off the cob. 6 cups of black beans.
Strain out the bones and shred up the chicken meat. Add a dash or two of lemon juice, some tabasco, salt to taste.
Slice some corn tortillas into strips and toast in the oven, on the grill or in a toaster.
Two minutes before serving add some shredded greens to the soup and cook (swiss chard is especially nice, but anything you like will do).
Serve with chopped cilantro and tortilla strips.
Yum. This soup is nice and flex. We make a vegetarian version with the veggies and vegetable stock and add cheese and sour cream occasionally. You can use other veggies, other beans, play around with it.
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I love your "flex" recipes. Wish you would write a downhome cookbook to add you your other accomplishments! You make cooking for a crowd sound fun and easy - need to get into that zen state of mind.