Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mexican...again? I say, "Why not?"

This recipe was sent to me from Candy Fagerlin.  She said it is a variation of a Tortilla Soup by Rick Bayless.  It is a very authentic tasting soup.  I would probably use less pepper next time.  It did have an overwhelming pepper flavor.  I also added corn because I thought it was a bit too brothy. I couldn't find epazote which was disappointing as I had never tasted that herb and wanted to try it, but I suppose that is the price of living in the midwest; I used cilantro instead.

Tortilla Soup

From Candy: "I generally use grilled or roasted chicken.  I cut my tortillas into thin strips, then quick fry for topping the soup and have extras on the side, so they stay crispy until you want to add more. Fresh limes are essential and add the finishing touch .... now I'm really hungry."

1 large dried pasilla (negro) chile, stemmed and seeded  - Add more or less depending on the heat you like
One 15-oz can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)  -  I also use fresh garden tomatoes
2 tblsp vegetable or olive oil 
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick 
3 garlic cloves, peeled 
2 quarts chicken broth 
1 large sprig fresh epazote, if you have one  or LOTS of cilantro
4 (about 1-1/4 lbs total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch thick cubes
(Rotisserie or grilled chicken can stand in for the raw chicken breasts,add it at the last second)
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4 inch cubes 
1-1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded Mexican melting cheese, or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar 
A generous 4 cups (about 6 oz) roughly broken tortilla chips  I cut fresh torillas in thin strips and quick fry
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving 

Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds, until its aroma fills the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.) Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender, along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, but it won't completely puree the chile.)
Heat the oil in a large (4 quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender; set the pan aside. Process until smooth. 
Return the pan to medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and epazote if usiing. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth). 

Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth. Divide the avocado, cheese and tortilla chips among the serving bowls. When the chicken is done, ususally about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls. Pass the lime separately. 

1 comment:

Cindy Sheppard said...

Made the green chicken enchiladas again last night for our Performing Arts get together - a hit once again! Can't wait to try this soup - it looks and sounds much like the tortilla soup served at the El Fenix mexican food chain in Texas!