Cinco de Mayo Pt 2 - Tortilla Soup
Tortilla Soup (adapted from a combination of recipes from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Everyday via cookstr.com and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
(This recipe serves 8 people)
It can be made for vegetarians and then chicken added at the end for the meat-eaters – which is what I did after segregating my vegetarian portion out.
Ingredients for Soup:
2 large pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded (recipe calls for dried – I used fresh) or you can use poblano or dried ancho chile.
3 pounds of fresh tomatoes or 1- 28 oz can of fire-roasted (or plain) tomatoes in juice. I used fresh.
2 large onions sliced
3 cloves of garlic sliced
2 sprigs of epazote (a Mexican herb) or a pinch of dried oregano or epazote (I used a sprig of fresh oregano)
1-quart vegetable stock (I used Bittman’s recipe for roasted vegetable stock which I always keep on hand in the freezer)
1 quart of water
1-½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into ½ inch cubes (option for meat-eaters). Alan cut it up for me. He’s such a good man...
1 lime cut into wedges
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped slightly for garnish
1-cup Queso Fresco or Jack, cubed for garnish (I used a couple different kinds of cheese including a habanero cheddar; chichuahua; and jack)
1 ripe avocado cubed for garnish
1 or 2 radishes thinly sliced for garnish (I skipped this part – didn’t have the radishes and wasn’t going back out to the store)
½ carrot grated on big holes for garnish (I skipped this too – had the carrots but too lazy to grate…. )
Fresh chile pods to crush over the soup for those who like heat
10 or more corn tortillas cut into ½ inch strips
½ cup of grape seed, corn or peanut oil
Instructions: For the chips: Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is around 350 degrees fry the tortilla strips in small batches for a minute or two until crispy, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Set aside. You can store these in an air-tight zip-lock baggie or container for a couple days if you’d like.
For the Soup: Broil the tomatoes and chiles in a single layer, close to the heat source, until charred. Keep flipping until all sides are charred. When charred all over, skin, stem, and seed the chiles and skin the tomatoes.
Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a pot large enough to hold everything and add the garlic and onion. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the roasted chiles and tomatoes and crush the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Season with salt, pepper, and the oregano/epazote. Add the vegetable stock and water and adjust the heat so the soup simmers gently partially covered. Cook for half an hour, crushing the tomatoes from time to time. When done, cool. You can let the soup sit for a couple hours or refrigerate for a day or so.
When the soup is cool use an immersion blender (be very careful – those things are ridiculously dangerous - shocking that they're still on the market) or a blender and puree the mixture until very smooth.
Re-heat the soup. If you’re going to add chicken cubes you can do so now and cook for about 5 minutes along with the fried tortillas and lime juice to taste. If you’re not doing chicken then just heat the soup up over a medium heat, stir in the fried tortillas with some lime juice to taste, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve with condiments on the side for people to add themselves.
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