Thursday, October 7, 2010

tortilla soup

our big family vacation when i was growing up
was spending the week after christmas
in mexico
we always went to the same place
and met up with the same families
who gathered together
year after year
from around the globe
it was a blast and a blessing
so much fun
and the food
oh the food
as a kid i always wondered
how it could be that
 the wonderful eats from mazatlan
were so horribly translated once they crossed the border

here's a secret i don't tell many
i tried my very first tortilla soup
in a mexican tourist trap
and it was
brothy and spicy, with large pieces of avocado and hunks of chicken
topped with crispy bits of yesterday's tortillas
because i can't just hop a plane to mexico when a craving hits
i make this
which closely resembles my memory of the perfect tortilla soup
now if i could just conjure up a spell
that could mimic the fresh sea breeze, bring together all the wonderful families, and improve my spanish
life would be perfect!
tortilla soup
3 quarts chicken stock
1 large roasted or boiled chicken (use the one from making stock if you can)
1/4 cup white wine or sherry
olive oil
1 large onion--chopped
1 large pasilla chile--chopped
3 chilies in adobo--finely chopped
2 cloves garlic--finely chopped
large can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbs southwest seasoning (recipe follows)
to taste--salt and pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 large bay leaves
juice of 1 lime
3 Tbs fresh cilantro--chopped
pinch oregano
2 diced avocados to serve
fried tortilla strips dusted with southwest seasoning to serve
Emeril's Southwest Seasoning
2 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs ground coriander
1 Tbs garlic powder 
1 Tbs salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
heat enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a stock pot.  toss in the onion and pasilla chili and cook until softened but not browned.  add garlic, adobo chiles, and corn and let cook for 1-2 minutes.  Pour in wine or sherry and stir until it evaporates completely.  sprinkle in the southwest seasoning and cook for just a minute or two. add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, cumin, oregano and chicken stock.  let simmer 30 minutes or so.  meanwhile, remove skin from chicken and shred.  toss the chicken into the soup and cook until warmed through. check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.  remove from heat and add cilantro and lime juice.
add avocado and tortilla strips when serving

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