I was recently asked which of my collected recipes was my all-time favorite.  This was certainly food for thought (pun intended) because I have several favorite dishes and meals that don’t necessarily require recipes.

Once I filtered those from my mental search criteria I asked myself which of my favorite dishes really depended on the recipe itself.  Which one truly called upon the combinations of the specific ingredients and shouldn’t be altered too much?  It didn’t take long to recall this recipe and, after much consideration, I have deemed it my all-time favorite!

The original recipe came from a Southern Living chowder recipe that was featured several years ago.  The recipe began as thick chowder and called for hominy.  I felt that the stock was so rich and flavorful that to mess with it would be an utter sin and honestly, I just don’t do hominy!

Sopa Mexicana de Pollo

(Mexican Chicken Soup)


  • 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large fryer chicken
  • 2 medium (or 4 small) red potatoes sliced to ¼ thickness
  • 1 can white beans (navy, pinto, etc.), rinsed
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

Remove 2-3 chilies and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can; reserve remaining chilies and sauce for another use. Finely chop chilies; set sauce aside separately.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped chilies, onion, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently.

Stir in broth, water and salt; bring to a boil. Add chicken; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and slowly simmer 1 hour. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon, and cool slightly. Shred chicken with 2 forks; add back to broth.

Stir in potatoes and beans; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cream and adobo sauce; simmer 5 minutes. Add tomato and cilantro, and simmer an additional 5 minutes.


The Menu
Not only is this my favorite recipe but it’s also part of one of my favorite entertaining menus.  Invite your nearest and dearest over and pay tribute to our neighbors to the South.  This menu is guaranteed to project you to “Rock Star” status with your friends and family!

Cocktail Hour(s)
Tequila Mojitos (another of my all-time favorites) – Recipe below
Dos Equis or Corona with lime garnish

Terri’s Salsa – Recipe below
Your favorite Guacamole
Tortilla Chips

Main Course
Sopa Mexicana de Pollo
Rustic Corn Bread – Recipe below

Tres Leche Cake (Three Milk Cake) – Recipe below


Tequila Mojitos

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh mint sprigs
2 cups lemon-lime soft drink, chilled
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup tequila

Garnish: fresh mint sprigs, lime slices

Bring 1 cup water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil, stirring often, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add mint sprigs, and let stand 2 hours or until mixture is completely cool.

Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, discarding mint. Stir in lemon-lime soft drink, lime juice, and tequila. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.


Terri’s Salsa

This is my neighbor’s recipe and it is soooo wonderful.  Feel free to use fresh tomatoes but I swear, for this style of salsa, the canned are just fine!


  • 3 large (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes, drained
  • 1 large white onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 jalapeño pepper(s)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Juice from one lime

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until all ingredients are incorporated.


Rustic Corn Bread

I like different types of cornbread for different dishes (sweet, cake-like, etc) but my basic recipe is the one I like best with this menu.


  • 2 cups self-rising cornmeal
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease

Preheat oven to 400.  Add bacon grease to cast iron skillet and heat in oven 10 minutes.

Mix milk, egg and vegetable oil with fork until egg is blended.  Add cornmeal and mix 20-20 strokes.  Do not over-mix batter.

Remove skillet from oven.  Add batter to skillet and return to oven.  Cook 12-17 minutes (depending on depth and width of pan) until edges just starts to brown.


Tres Leches Cake

(Mexican Three Milk Cake)


  • 1 yellow cake mix baked as directed
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • Cool Whip, to cover cake
  • 1 small bag sweetened flaked coconut

Bake cake as directed in a 13×9 pan. Leaving cake in the pan, perforate with a fork.

Combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, extract, whipping cream and rum and pour over warm cake.  Cover and refrigerate cake; let mixture absorb completely (2 hours to overnight).

Cover with cool whip and sprinkle sweetened coconut over top of cake.


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Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy lives in Lexington, South Carolina, is a contributing writer for the Food & Drink section and is currently working on her first cookbook. Mandy is an award winning recipe writer and judges regional cook-offs and other culinary contests.

“I'm just a gal that likes food. Of course I like to eat, but what I've discovered about myself over the years is that there are more ways for me to enjoy food than just eating it. I like to shop for it, read about it, cook it, entertain with it and write about it. And when it's really good, sometimes I'm tempted to throw it on the floor and roll in it."