Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tortilla Soup

I am not a corn tortilla person. They remind me of corn chips that you absentmindedly put in your mouth when you wonder into the kitchen, still sleepy from last night's party and the bowl of corn chips is there, sitting on the counter and the chips are decidedly not crispy anymore and taste rather like cardboard. And probably I'm not a fan because they usually aren't fresh made corn tortillas. But sometimes you see a recipe and you think. Now is the time to try that. That sounds good.

We have to thank Brett of In Praise of Sardines for giving his wife's Tortilla soup recipe. And for the delightful story that accompanies it. Last night, L. and I cooked up our own occasion for memories.

So many recipes just use tortillas as a garnish. But in this one, the tortillas are cooked right in and thicken the broth while adding their distinct flavor. (Note to self - no need to fret about the right way to cut the tortillas.) And the cumin and chili powder will keep your taste buds thanking God they are alive.

L. and I like leftovers so we doubled Brett's recipe - well, almost, (not the chili powder, or the avocado or the chicken). Plus we cooked the chicken in the soup - it stays so tender when it's cooked in broth (like in this chicken soup recipe).

4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno chile, minced
4 corn tortillas (we used Whole Foods organic stone ground), cut in half and then into 1/4 inch strips
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder such as ancho chili powder
1 bay leaf
2 cups tomatoes, peeled and diced, fresh or canned (can't wait til summer to try fresh!)
6 cups chicken broth
1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt
1 chicken breast , de-boned and sliced into 1/2 inch wide strips.
1 avocado
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Add the oil and onions into a stock pot and cook over medium-low heat until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and the jalapeno chili and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Go outside to empty your kitchen compost pail. Come back inside. Inhale. Isn't that the most wonderful aroma?
  • Add the tortilla strips and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the cumin, the chili powder and the bay leaf and stir for about a minute.
  • Add the tomato and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth and salt. Simmer for about 25 minutes.
  • Add the chicken pieces. Bring soup back to simmer and cook for an additional 5 minutes or so.
Thanks Brett!


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