Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tortilla Soup: Take Two

Hillary and I recently cooked dinner at my house. We decided to try another tortilla soup recipe in an attempt to relive those lazy summer days in Baja. Though we agreed it was still not identical to the soup they make in Mexico, I think this recipe comes very close.

The Mansion's Tortilla Soup (Hill found this via the Food Network online)
(Google tells me that the Mansion is a popular, fancy restaurant in Texas.)


3 tablespoons corn oil (We used olive oil.)
4 corn tortillas, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh epazote or cilantro ( Cilantro for us.)
1 cup fresh onion, pureed
2 cups pureed fresh tomatoes (It took about 7 or 8 plum tomatoes to get 2 cups of puree.)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 whole bay leaves
4 tablespoons canned tomato puree (We used tomato paste.)
2 quarts chicken stock
Cayenne pepper
1 cooked chicken breast cut into strips (We cooked up two thinly sliced chicken cutlets. Of course, chicken is optional if you prefer the soup to be vegetarian.)
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3 corn tortillas, cut in strips and fried until crisp (We baked these (lightly oiled) until crisp, it was just as good.)
Though the recipe didn't call for it, we added a ton of fresh lime juice (about 2 limes I think) to the soup as it was cooking. I think the tangy-ness from the lime juice is the key to the success of this soup!


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute tortillas with garlic and epazote over medium heat until tortillas are soft. Add onion and fresh tomato puree and bring to a boil. We strained the tomato puree to eliminate all the seeds from the soup. Totally optional, but it does make the soup's texture nice and smooth. Also, I had never pureed an onion before. It was fun!

Add cumin, chili powder, bay leaves, canned tomato puree or paste and chicken stock. Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat to simmer. Add salt and cayenne pepper and lime juice! to taste, and cook stirring frequently for 30 minutes.

Strain and pour into warm soup bowls. We did not strain the soup before serving, but it was still pretty smooth, with only some very small pieces of tortilla and cilantro left. If you want the soup to be completely broth-like, go ahead and strain it. I liked it this way though.

Add the chicken, and garnish with avocado, shredded cheese and crisp tortilla strips. Serve Immediately.

*We also made Trader Joe's cornbread to go along with our soup. Have you ever made it? It is pretty tasty!

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