What’s For Dinner?
El Matador's Avocado and Chicken Soup
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
From the menu of . . . El Matador
4316 Chamblee Tucker Road, Chamblee
Q: My wife and I love good soup, and one of our favorites is the Avocado and Chicken Soup at El Matador restaurant in Tucker. Is it possible to get the recipe?
- Jim Chambers, Tucker
A: Only in America! Where else can a Jordanian immigrant come to a country, work on an assembly line in an electronics plant, become good friends with immigrants from Mexico, develop a fondness for Mexican culture, music and food and then open a restaurant specializing in Mexican, with a touch of Middle Eastern cuisine? That is the story of Ismail Sirdah, who came here 17 years ago from Jordan, is now an American citizen and owner of El Matador, a casual Tex-Mex restaurant that boasts everyday fresh ingredients.
Hands on time: 1 hour Total time: 2 hours and 20 minutes Serves: 10
2 pounds boneless chicken breast
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 quarts water
4 cups cooked rice (white or Spanish)
3 limes or lemons
3/4 cup Pico de Gallo (see recipe below)
1/4 to 3/4 cup El Matador Special Sauce (see recipe below)
4 (6-inch) round tortillas, cut into 2-inch strips and fried in hot oil until golden (or substitute tortilla chips)
Pico de Gallo
Makes about 5 cups
Preparation time: 10 minutes
2 cups finely diced yellow onion
7 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves and be careful not to touch your eyes)
1 1/2 cups finely diced tomato
1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro
El Matador Special Sauce
Makes about 3 cups
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
4 cubes Knorr chicken bouillon
2 large fresh whole tomatoes, peeled (see note) and chopped
5 cups water
Peel the avocados and cut them into small pieces. Set aside. Cut each lime into 4 wedges. Set aside.
To serve: Place about 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth in a soup bowl, add about 3/4 cup shredded chicken, 2 tablespoons Pico de Gallo, 2 teaspoons (or more) of the special sauce and 3 tablespoons chopped avocado.
Add juice from 1/4 lime; garnish with tortilla chips and serve.
For Pico de Gallo: In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine onion, peppers and tomato. Stir in cilantro and mix until well-blended.
For El Matador Special Sauce: In a medium-size saucepan over low heat, heat the oil. Stir in flour, pepper, garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook 2 minutes. Add chicken bouillon and tomatoes. Add water slowly, whisking constantly until smooth. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes.
Note: To peel tomatoes, bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Cut an X on the top (stem side) of the tomato. Put the tomatoes in the boiling water and boil until the skin starts to pull away from the tomato. Drain and let cool. Remove the skin from the tomatoes and set aside.
Pico de Gallo: Per 1/4 cup: 14 calories, 1 gram protein, trace of fat (percent calories from fat, 7), 3 grams carbohydrates, no cholesterol, 3 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
El Matador Special Sauce: Per tablespoon: 9 calories, trace protein, half a gram fat (percent calories from fat, 50), 1 gram carbohydrates, trace cholesterol, 97 milligrams sodium, trace fiber.