Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Favorite Tortilla Soup

One of my favorite things to make is Tortilla Soup. I'm from Texas, so mexican food or Tex-Mex plays a large part of our diet. I found a wonderful recipe in Clive Berkman's Creating Empty Bottle Moments and have adapted it over the years by substituting ingredients that I was short on or adding more of something just because I liked it a lot. (Note: I am not claiming that my recipe is better or easier than Clive's. I have a tremendous amount of respect for his food and I cherish his cookbook as one of my favorites.) Now make sure that you look through all of the steps before making this wonderful soup and be warned: It's so yummy, you'll keep eating it even when you are really really full.

1 Whole Chicken (uncooked)
2 Bay Leaves
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Corn Oil
1 Tablespoon GroundCumin
1/2 Tablespoon Cumin Seed
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
2 Medium Onions
2 Jalepeno Peppers
28 Ounce Can Diced Tomatos
2 - 10 Ounce Cans Rotel
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro
Handfull of Corn Tortilla Chips

Corn Tortilla Chips
Sour Cream
Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Making the stock:
Rinse the chicken. Put in pot and cover with salt and pepper. Add 2 bay leaves and enough water to cover the chicken. Boil for 45 min, flip the chicken and boil for another 45 min.

Remove the chicken and place in separate bowl. Put the stock aside.

In a separate pot, heat the olive oil and corn oil on medium high heat.

Add the handfull of chips, garlic, ground cumin, and cumin seed.

Stir constantly cooking it for 2 min, careful not to burn.

Prep: Rough chop onion and jalepeno. Twist the half bunch of fresh cilantro. 
Tip for ribbing a jalepeno, use a small spoon to scoop out seeds.

Add remaining ingredients to oil: Onion, jalepeno, cilantro, tomato paste, diced tomatos, and rotel. Heat to a boil

Add chicken stock: This can be messy, so I turned off the burners, put a towel down between the pots and ladled the chicken stock over to the other pot. The stock should be enough (the original recipe calls for 2 quarts).

Boil soup for about an hour or until the onions are translucent.

Chicken Shredding set up:
Left - Paper bag for skin and bones/Right - Bowl for the shredded chicken
Time to get your hands dirty: Rip that chicken apart, throwing out the skin, bones, and viens. I rub the meat between my thumb and forefinger to "shred" the chicken. It should be cooked well enough to fall apart when you do this.

Shredded Chicken

Soup is ready to be blended.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup completely.

After pureed.

Add shredded chicken and stir. 
Garnish your bowl according to preference and serve. Enjoy!

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