Monday, February 1, 2010

Snowed In

Hey kids, I guess I'm back. I had thought I was going to end this blog and go on to start a creative nonfiction type, journally blog, but, alas, I've done little writing to be proud'll come, I'm sure. For now, I should tell you about this soup. It's one of the best, simplest things we've made in so long.

As I'd given up on the food blog, we've stopped taking pictures of our meals, so you'll have to forgive the lack of a visual. We made this soup simply because we were snowed in and needed to use mostly pantry/stashed/horded items to put it together. I made several tweaks/clarifications to the recipe which I'll explain.

Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup

* 6 (6-inch) flour tortillas (we used 2 8-inch tortillas cut into strips)
* Cooking spray
* 2 large ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed (dried ancho chiles...I don't know why this recipe doesn't specify that)
* 1 quart chicken stock (we used some yummy homemade stock that we made for cheap, explanation later)
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 ears corn on the cob, husked, kernels removed or 1 cup frozen kernels, defrosted (We used Trader Joe's extra sweet organic kernels)
* 1 large red onion, chopped
* 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped or thinly sliced (I only seeded half)
* 1 red chile pepper, seeded and chopped or thinly sliced (We used 2 poblano peppers. I was worried about my sensitive little husband)
* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/3 palmful
* 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika, half a palmful
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, eyeball it in your palm
* 1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced or crushed tomatoes (I didn't have fire roasted)
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded (We defrosted 1 lb. chicken tenders and sauteed them in the dutch oven before we started the soup. We set them aside, added them later in the process)
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 to 2 cups water (we didn't use any water)
* 2 limes
* 2 ripe Hass avocados, halved
* Sour cream, for garnish
* Cilantro leaves, for garnish

I wish recipes told you how many pots/pans you'll need within the recipe. For that reason, I'm gonna start prefacing my recipes with that information. You'll need (1) 1.5 quart sauce pan, a cookie sheet, and (1) 5 q. dutch oven or other such soup pot.


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the tortillas into 1/2-inch strips and scatter on large baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and bake until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and reserve.

While the tortillas crisp, add the ancho chiles and the chicken stock to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chiles are tender. Remove from the heat to cool. (this would take forever. Just boil them for as long as you can. It's okay if they don't puree entirely)

While the anchos simmer, heat a medium soup pot with vegetable oil over high heat. Add the corn and saute until charred at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat a little, add the onions, jalapeno, red chile pepper and garlic. Season with cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon. Saute for 5 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes. Puree the anchos and the stock in a food processor (be very careful. I had to do this in batches even though my FP bowl wasn't full. When the liquid is hot, it can be a real mess to use the FP. I'd use an immersion blender if you have one), then add it to the soup pot. Stir in the honey and the shredded chicken and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Thin the soup with 1 or 2 cups of water and simmer over low heat to combine flavors, about 5 minutes (like I said, we didn't add any water).

Zest and juice 1 lime and add to the soup pot. Seed and dice the avocados and add to a small bowl. Dress with the juice of the remaining lime. (we used bottled lime juice. I know it's bad, but I don't have a palate to speak of.)

Pile some crispy tortilla strips into each soup bowl. Top with diced avocado and ladle the soup over the avocado. Garnish with sour cream and whole or chopped cilantro leaves. (We didn't do this, we simply spooned the soup into bowls, topped it with some tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro).

We also made a queso dip as we were snowed in and wanted to maximize our melted cheese intake. We used another Rachel Ray recipe, which was pretty good.

  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a drizzle
  • 1/2 pound Spanish or Mexican chorizo (We used Soyrizo from Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 pound mushroom caps, quartered
  • 1 cup diced Mexican melting cheese or Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese(We used a mix of Cabot Sharp cheddar & Mozz)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag corn tortillas or blue corn tortillas, any variety


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in small skillet over medium-high heat. Dice the Spanish chorizo and add to the pan to render the fat. If using fresh Mexican chorizo, remove the casing and crumble while it's browning. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook with the sausage until just tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the sausage mixture to a small casserole or baking dish and top with the cheese. Bake until bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with the scallions. Serve with chips for dipping.

I don't think Mark added the oil b.c. the soyrizo is usually full of it. I have to tell you, we love the soyrizo. I'm not much for the fake meat, I'd rather just have extra veg, but this fake meat is great.

We miss the great queso we used to get at Los Rosales. Mark says this is very much like it. I only had a little bit, so I wouldn't know.

For leftovers, I have been having a spoonful of queso in my soup.

*chicken broth, yo. You can easily make your own chicken broth for cheap. We get the rotisserie chickens from Kroger about once every three weeks. I put the carcass in a gallon-sized freezer bag and put it away until a lazy Sunday afternoon when I make stock. I use this idea. You can use whatever veg you have around.


mangocheeks said...

Good to see your back. I have some ancho chillies, I may have to make a vegetarian variation of this soup. By the way happy New Year to you and your family.

the twins said...

i love tortilla soup and this one sounds great!