Tortilla Soup

2015-02-10

A warm hearty soup that will fill you up on a cold winter night.  This recipe serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 ears fresh corn, husks removed
  • 5 garlic clove, peeled and smashed Garlic, raw
  • 1 small onion (about 3 ounces), peeled, trimmed, and quartered Onions, raw
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, trimmed and seeded Peppers, jalapeno, raw
  • 2 Tbsp corn oil Oil, vegetable corn, salad or cooking
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares Tortillas, ready-to-bake or -fry, corn, without added salt
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes (1 pound), peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste Tomato products, canned, paste, with salt added
  • 3 tsp ground cumin Spices, cumin seed
  • 2 quarts chicken stock Soup, chicken broth, canned, prepared with equal volume water, commercial
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish:
  • 5 corn tortillas Tortillas, ready-to-bake or -fry, corn, without added salt
  • 1 large chicken breast, cooked, boned, and skinned Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, raw
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese grated Cheese, cheddar
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (optional) Cilantro (Chinese parsley), raw
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, (optional) Cream, sour, reduced fat, cultured

Method

Step 1

Using a large knife, carefully scrape the kernels off the corn cobs and set aside, reserving the cobs.

Step 2

Using a food processor fitted with the steel blade, or a large knife, coarsely chop the garlic, onion, jalapeno pepper, and corn kernels. Reserve.

Step 3

In a large soup pot, heat the oil. Add the squares of tortillas and cook over low heat until they are slightly crisp. Stir in the chopped vegetables and simmer just until the vegetables are coated with the oil. Do not brown.

Step 4

Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, and 2 teaspoons of the cumin and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes to maximize the flavor. Slowly pour in the stock, add the corn cobs, and cook over low heat until the soup is reduced by one third.

Step 5

Discard the corn cobs and puree the soup, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth. At this point, the soup can be passed through the fine strainer, if desired. Return to a clean pot and season with salt, pepper, and additional cumin to taste.

Step 6

Prepare the garnish: Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the tortillas into thin strips and arrange on a baking tray. Bake until the strips are crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the chicken into thin strips or shred it.

Step 7

To serve, add the chicken to the soup and reheat over low heat. Ladle the soup into 6 to 8 warm soup bowls and garnish with the baked tortilla strips, Cheddar cheese, sour cream and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Step 8

Shortcuts and Notes:

Step 9

Use frozen corn instead of cobs when unavailable or to shorten the effort. Approximately 1 1/4 cups equals 2 cobs. Use one can of diced tomatoes instead of the fresh when not in season.

Step 10

Note that the blender step can be dangerous unless the soup is sufficiently cooled. Alternatively use a hand blender if you have one and then strain. You can also skip the straining effort if you don't care if it is a consistent texture throughout especially if using a blender.

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