Thursday, July 27, 2006

Simple Soup

This is a great simple soup that can be made day of or earlier. I'll have some more notes at the end.

Tortilla Soup

from America's Test Kitchen
Despite its somewhat lengthy ingredient list, this recipe is very easy to prepare. If you desire a soup with mild spiciness, trim the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño omit the jalapeño altogether) and use the minimum amount of chipotle in adobo sauce (1 teaspoon, pureed with the tomatoes in step 3). Our preferred brand of low-sodium chicken broth is Swanson's Natural Goodness. If advance preparation suits you, the soup can be completed short of adding the shredded chicken to the pot at the end of step 3. Return the soup to a simmer over medium-high heat before proceeding. The tortilla strips and the garnishes are best prepared the day of serving.

Makes about 9 cups, serving 6

Tortilla Strips
8 corn tortillas (6-inch), cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 TB vegetable oil

2 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) or 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds), skin removed and well trimmed of excess fat
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 very large white onion (about 1 pound), trimmed of root end, quartered, and peeled
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
8 to 10 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 sprig fresh oregano
2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
½ medium jalapeño
1 chipotle chile en adobo , plus up to 1 TB adobo sauce
1 TB vegetable oil

1 lime, cut into wedges
1 avocado, diced fine
8 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled, or Monterey Jack cheese, diced fine
fresh cilantro leaves
minced jalapeño pepper
Mexican crema or sour cream

1. FOR THE TORTILLA STRIPS: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread tortilla strips on rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with oil and toss until evenly coated. Bake until strips are deep golden brown and crisped, about 14 minutes, rotating pan and shaking strips (to redistribute) halfway through baking time. Season strips lightly with salt; transfer to plate lined with several layers paper towels.

2. FOR THE SOUP: While tortilla strips bake, bring chicken, broth, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro, oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt to boil over medium-high heat in large saucepan; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to large plate. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer; discard solids in strainer. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces; discard bones.

3. Puree tomatoes, 2 remaining onion quarters, 2 remaining garlic cloves, jalapeño, chipotle, and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce in food processor until smooth. Heat oil in Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering; add tomato/onion puree and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture has darkened in color, about 10 minutes. Stir strained broth into tomato mixture, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer to blend flavors, about 15 minutes. Taste soup; if desired, add up to 2 teaspoons additional adobo sauce. Add shredded chicken and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.

TO SERVE: place portions of tortilla strips in bottom of individual bowls and ladle soup into bowls; pass garnishes separately.

1. The bone-in chicken breasts give alot of great flavor, but if you want to make this easier or more low fat, just use boneless skinless breasts.
2. If you don't want to use fresh tomatoes (not in season or nothing good at the store) I think a can of pureed tomatoes would work. I'd go as far as saying diced tomatoes would be great as well.
3. I loved the smokiness that chipotle and adobo gave the soup. But I have been looking for those at my local grocery stores with no luck. What I have actually came from a specialty shop in Philly. Perhaps some roasted peppers could give a little bit of a substitute?
4. I added a few handfuls of frozen corn kernels to add a little more bulk to the soup. Tasty.
5. Garnishes really are just for garnish...they weren't really necessary. The avacado and the cheese were nice, but I could really do without all of them. Of course all the garnishes add more fat. I think the soup is really good without them. So maybe just stick with the 2 TB of oil in the tortillas and for simmering the tomato mixture. Or low fat cheese/sour cream.
6. I loved the baked corn tortilla chips. But I would actually cut them differently in the future. Maybe into smaller squares...something that would more easily fit on a spoon.
7. If you have a food processor or blender, I think you can follow the directions. If not, I think just finely dicing the ingredients would be great. The soup would be more chunky and that would be OK. I'm actually thinking the next time I make the soup, I'll add some diced tomatoes (and the corn again) for a more chunky soup.



Dancer in DC said...

The depth of flavor in this soup was very nice. There was a bit of spice, but cilantro was the assertive ingredient I noticed.

Personally I loved the avocado in there, adding another type of texture and a touch of flavor. Make sure it's chopped small.

Terri in WI said...

I brought a packet of soup mix back from my trip to Mexico...definitely not the same as having it in Mexico, but still okay. I tried both corn and flour tortillas just 'cuz and I actually liked the flour tortillas better. I cut them, then sprayed them with olive oil, salted and baked them.

ScottE. said...

I had my soup for lunch today. WOW did it get spicy overnight. My nose is still running! But it was tasty. I took a tortilla and cut it into thin strips, 1/4 inch wide and no more than an inch long...put them in the toaster oven on broil for a few minutes while the soup was in the microwave. I had none of the garnishes, so it was just the plain soup. YUM.

Cindy said...

Hi Scott. I just finished watching America's Test Kitchen, and they did this recipe. I was hoping I could find it online without signing up on their website. Thanks for making my life easier today! I like your blog. I'll probably come back and look at some of your other recipes later.

jen in indianapolis said...

I made this soup for several of my friends and everyone loved it! I found the adobo chilis in the mexican aisle of my local grocery store and found that it added a real depth that I enjoyed! It was spicier than I anticipated, but it was SO good...I was disappointed that I didn't have any leftovers. I'm getting ready to make it again - no sharing this time!:)

ScottE. said...

JEN: thanks for sharing. I'm excited you enjoyed the soup.