Monday, January 10, 2011

a new week, an old soup (spicy mexican tortilla soup)

I know I've shared this soup before, but it really is just so tasty, plus I made this batch in my brand new French oven, which I'll have to share some photos of shortly -- it's so pretty!

This soup all started with a bag in the freezer full of vegetable peels. I roasted a chicken especially so that I could later make the soup, I love it that much. It was a very light broth this time, I think next time I will add some tomatoes or tomato juice just to darken and thicken it a little.

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(I love this little cutting board)

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Spicy Mexican Tortilla soup, adapted from the Rebar cookbook

1 cup chicken meat* (optional)
8 - 10 cups veggie or chicken stock**
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 sweet onion, quartered and then finely sliced (see this photo for examples)
1 - 2 shallots, finely sliced
8 - 10 cloves garlic (don't skimp!)
1 & 1/2 jalapenos, seeded and finely minced
1/2 jalapeno, seeds left in, finely minced***
2 large red bell or other sweet peppers finely sliced into 1"x1/4" slices
2 tsp chipotle puree (I can only ever find canned chipotle peppers, which I then blend up and keep in a tupperware in the fridge.
2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lime


4 corn tortillas
1/2 avocado, per serving
lime wedges
1 green onion, per serving, sliced diagonally
cilantro, to taste (about half a bunch)
toasted sourdough (optional)

*I like to take the meat from a roast chicken I have cooked for a different meal. I immediately remove all little meat pieces from the bird and tear into bite-size pieces, which then goes into the freezer until I am ready to make soup.
**From the roast chicken I also boil down the bones with any old vegetable peelings (which I also keep in the freezer) and 8 to 10 cups water until I get 6 to 8 cups of a nice, strong stock. If I don't have as much as needed for a good soup, I add some low-sodium store bought stock.
***Adjust the number of seeds you leave in according to your own tastes. The seeds of half a jalapeno, plus the chipotle puree was the perfect spice for my tastes. It's easier to add heat than to remove it!

To quicken the whole process, Rebar recommends heating the stock and keeping it warm on a back burner. This is probably good advice, personally I just like to do things as slowly as possible. Heat oil in a large pot (french oven highly recommended) over medium-low heat. Add onion, shallots and a pinch of salt. Sauté onions until translucent, then add your garlic and jalapenos. Stir and cook for another minute or two, careful not to let the garlic get brown, then add your sweet red peppers. To this add another pinch salt, ground pepper to taste, chipotle puree, and the oregano. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the red peppers just begin to soften.

Add to your pot the chicken pieces and your stock, bring to a gentle boil then let simmer about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile slice your corn tortillas into strips, toss with a little vegetable oil, lay flat on a baking pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or if like me, also sprinkle with Spanish paprika, oregano, and a little ground cumin). Bake at 350°F, tossing midway if necessary, 5 to 10 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.

Remove your soup from the heat and add the juice of one lime.

Top each bowl of soup with a small handful of tortilla strips, one sliced green onion, and a couple pinches of roughly chopped cilantro. Serve with a half a sliced avocado, lime wedges and toasted bread on the side.

*For a darker, richer looking broth, after adding your red peppers to the pot you could also add one or two tomatoes, diced, and allow them to cook down quite a bit before adding your stock.*

Enjoy!! It's the perfect soup for any time of year.

1 comment:

Fleurish said...

Just twittered about your soup,thanks for the post!