Off the Menu is as silly and predictable as it the title and still short suggest, but enjoyable nonetheless.
The movie takes place in a small cafe in New Mexico. There is plenty of corny romance, cooking, and chiles as the story progresses. And luckily, no shortage of foodie inspiration!
In one scene, tourists are on a Mexican Food tour and one of the dishes they sample is a soup with green chiles and pinto beans. Chiles (presumably Hatch chiles, since this takes place in New Mexico) play a prominent role in the food highlighted in this movie, so I knew I wanted to include them in some way. In my far Northern US area, I was unable to find “authentic hatch chiles”, though I was able to find Hatch brand chiles, so I had to call it close enough.
Side note: in my research I found that the commonly found “diced green chiles” are usually Anaheim peppers, which are an acceptable substitute for hatch chiles in most cases.
The best part of watching this movie was the soup I was able to create as inspiration! I never would have thought to make a green chile soup otherwise! Most of us loved the soup, though Spud, who claims to have a sensitive tongue (these were mild chiles), thought it was too spicy, but that wasn’t surprising, I figured this would be a hard sell for an 11-year old. Nevertheless, he ate his portion and the rest of us enjoyed seconds (and the leftovers!)
Green Chile Chicken Soup
Adapted Slightly from Simply Recipes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained
1 (28 ounce) can hatch chiles (or mild green chiles)
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans (undrained)
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt & pepper
1 quart chicken broth
Avocado slices, to serve
Tortilla strips, to serve
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until done. Set aside.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the soup pot. Add the onions and pepper and cook until tender; 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and corn.
Meanwhile, place the chiles and beans (with liquid from the can), in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Stir the chile mixture, chicken broth, spices, and cooked chicken into the pot. Bring to a light boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve topped with avocado slices and tortilla strips.