Skip to main content

Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Aunt Keri’s Santa Fe Chicken & Rice Soup

Oct 25, 2018 09:00AM ● By Lana Granfors

What's Cookin'

November 2018
Story by Lana Granfors
Photos by Kara Stewart

This month, we are featuring another recipe submitted by one of our readers. Jordan Atwell, a personal trainer at Adamson’s Peak Performance, is sharing a recipe that has been in his family for a very long time and was passed on to him by his Aunt Keri. It is perfect for our cold November nights, easy and ready in no time.  

He says it is supposed to serve 4 - 6, but is more often finished off by him and his wife in one sitting. It’s easily doubled, which could leave you with leftovers for lunches or another dinner. So the challenge is on – can you stop at one bowl? Enjoy!


2 T vegetable oil

1⁄2 large onion - chopped

1 clove garlic - chopped

1⁄4 to 3⁄8 cups rice, uncooked

6 cup chicken broth

1⁄2 tsp. cumin

4 whole fire roasted canned green chilies, chopped or one 7-oz. can chopped
Ortega chilies 

1 whole chicken breast, cooked and shredded (Jordan’s tip: Hand beater works great for shredding)

Up to 3 cups water

8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes (Jordan says Sonoma Garlic Jack is the best, but the garlic or peppered jack cheese is good too)

2 avocados cut into lengthwise slices

Pepper to taste

Optional garnish: Chopped cilantro, green onions, tortilla chips and sliced jalapeños


STEP 1: Heat oil in large soup pot. Stir in onion and garlic. Cover and sweat the onions about 5 minutes over low heat. Uncover and raise heat to medium. Stir in rice. When the rice grains look milky or opaque, add the chicken broth and cumin and bring to a boil. Boil gently for 25 minutes, or until rice is quite tender. The soup can be set aside at this point until 15 minutes before serving.

STEP 2: Bring the broth back to a boil and add the chilies, shredded chicken and pepper. When the soup is heated through, check consistency and add some of the remaining liquid if it seems too thick. It should resemble hearty chicken and rice soup, not a stew. Also, more onion, garlic, chilies and seasonings can be added to spice it up.

STEP 3: Place cheese cubes into individual serving bowls, pour soup over the cheese and garnish with avocado slices and any of the other listed garnishes.  The cheese is gooey good and even a crusty bread works well for scooping up the goodness.