First off, I want to thank Jess for inviting me to post on her fantastic blog! I love to cook and love to share recipes even more!
Living in Mexico has really forced me to be creative with my cooking, since I am unable to find many ingredients I would have used at home in Montreal. The other issue is when we eat out it tends to be Mexican food (of course) therefore it is not really the first thing I feel like making when we eat in. Luckily, a good friend of mine ran a great little Baja style Mexican restaurant and introduced me to tortilla soup the real deal and it was love at first taste! Regrettably, her gem of a place closed down (check out her new restaurant in Sausalito: www.salsalitotacoshop.com). Not only did I lose a friend, but I also lost my easy access go-to meal.
So the home tests began. I scoured the internet for soup recipes and finally, after combining a few together and several taste tests later, I came up with what I think is a pretty great soup. Some items listed under the ingredients can be substituted. I’ll make note of which ones. As soon as I make this again, I’ll add a pic. Hope you enjoy it!
- 6 (6-inch) flour tortillas -so much better freshly made (you can even season the left over strips for a snack later) but you can usually purchase pre-made tortilla strips at the supermarket
- Cooking spray
- 2 large ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed – this ingredient makes the soup, so try to find them! They usually come dried in bag
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 ears corn on the cob, husked, kernels removed or 1 cup frozen kernels defrosted
- 1 large red onion
- 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped or thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika - I use regular paprika since I’ve yet to find the smoked sweet variety
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced or crushed tomatoes or pure tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 cups water
- 2 limes
- 2 ripe avocados, for garnish
- Sour cream, for garnish
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
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.
While the anchos simmer, heat a medium soup pot with vegetable oil over high heat. Add the corn and sauté until charred at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat a little, add the onions, jalapeno, and garlic. Season with cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon. Sauté for 5 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes. For the tomatoes, sometime I use pure tomato sauce and water for a thicker tastier version.
Puree the anchos and the stock in a food processor or blender, 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.
Zest and juice 1 lime and add to the soup pot.
Plating the dish
Seed and dice the avocados and add to a small bowl. Dress with the juice of the remaining lime.
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.
Tip: If you can find some, grated manchego cheese also goes nicely as a garnish. You could even use some strong cheddar cheese.