When you think of a thick warming soup you may well think of minestrone, particularly if you live in the UK, however the Mexican favourite out here in Dallas where I am right now is Tortilla soup, a much spicier, hearty soup which you can pile up with the toppings of your choice. It’s also extremely quick to make. You can make it as spicy as you want, top with plain sour cream rather than spiced up as below. I suggest that you take it step by step in the spicy stakes.
Every Mexican restaurant out here offers their version of Tortilla soup, some more delicious than others, but all hearty and warming, and you’ll be surprised how little time it takes you to make your own.
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz chopped onions
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped, or 1 pasilla or green bell pepper and 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 cups chicken stock
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
6 stale corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
Also: 1 teaspoon Essence, see below
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped, for garnish
Chipotle Crema, accompaniment, recipe follows
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
I suggest that you make up a small jar of this spicy mix to keep for the future….
Combine all ingredients and process on high speed.
4 oz sour cream
1 teaspoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - you will also find here at Cool Chile Co and also at Amazon.co.uk – this is worth ordering and keeping in your store cupboard.
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a large heavy pot heat the oil on a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, salt, cumin and coriander and cook for about 5 minutes. Then the tomato paste and cook all, stirring, for a further minute.
Then add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Add the cilantro and lime juice, and stir well. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Heat the oil in a heavy pot or electric fryer to 350 degrees F. Add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with the Essence.
Ladle the soup into 4 or 6 serving bowls. Garnish each serving with the diced avocado, the fried tortilla strips, and Chipotle Crema.
New New Orleans Cooking by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch.