Spicy Chicken Coconut Soup

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serves 4 – 6

2 habanero peppers
1 white onion, diced
14 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
5 fresh curry leaves (available at H Mart or Punjab Market)
28 ounces plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
14 ounces light coconut milk
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Few sprigs fresh thyme
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast the habanero peppers over an open flame on the stove top until charred; remove seeds and stems. (If you don’t have a gas stove, roast the peppers in the broiler.) Combine with 1⁄2 of the onion, the fire-roasted tomatoes and the clove of garlic, puree with an immersion blender.

In a heavy stockpot or similar, saute the curry leaves in the canola oil over medium high heat until they sizzle. Add the remaining onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, broth and thyme. Bring to a simmer and add the spicy puree a little bit at a time, tasting until the soup is as spicy as you like. (Leftover puree is great stirred into salsa.) Add salt and pepper, bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the raw chicken breasts (do not rinse them) to the pot, making sure they are in a single layer and completely submerged in broth. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until the breasts are opaque and have reached an internal temperature of 165 F. Remove the breasts and shred with a fork. Return the meat to the pot and simmer another 10 minutes. Before serving, add the lime juice and stir. Garnish with fresh thyme.

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