Mexican Tortilla Soup
I have had many types of tortilla soup before and in my mind, none compare to this recipe. All the veggies are cooked enough but still have some of their texture, the broth is to die for, and it can be easily adjusted for vegetarians.
1 cup fresh corn kernels
2 tbsp sweet butter
5-6 cloves of garlic
1 cup of onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
½ cup carrots, diced
½ cup Anaheim chile, seeded and diced (sub: canned, diced green chilies)
1 tbps ground cumin
1 ½ tbps chile powder
1 tsp oregano
1 ½ cup tomato, diced
1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock or water
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 ½ cup cooked chicken, diced
¾ tbsp. salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 cups tortilla or corn chips, broken into smaller pieces
1 avacado, diced (or guacamole)
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
First, melt butter in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, corn and diced chilies and cook for three minutes. I prefer raw corn kernels cut with a sharp knife off the cob, but thawed frozen corn or canned corn with no sugar or salt work too. Cut raw kernels off the corn cob with a sharp knife. Stirring the mixture occasionally until the onion is transparent.
Second, stir in the cumin, chile powder and oregano. Continue stirring for another minute to toast the spices.
Third, add tomatoes and cilantro. This is where you can adjust the recipe to suit your needs. Claire is a vegetarian so the original recipe doesn't work for her, but there are so many great veggies in this that it would be terrible for her to miss out! I separated about half of the mixture into another sauce pan. Then I added 3 cups of vegetable stock to her portion and 3 cups of chicken stock and the chicken to the other. I found that separated dish needed a little more broth than just the quart called for. If you are not dividing the vegetable/seasoning mixture into two, only 1 quart (4 cups) are needed.
If you want to add more veggies to the vegetarian portion, now is a good time; summer squash, zucchini or black beans are perfect. For the chicken, I took 3 medium sized raw chicken breasts diced them into two inch cubes. Then, I added the chicken to boiling water and let them cook for about 9 minutes. I then cut the 2 inch sections into smaller cubes before adding them to the saucepan. If you want, you can boil whole chicken breasts, but I like to cut them a bit smaller so they cook more quickly. I don't suggest anything smaller than the 2 inch size before boiling, because I find the chicken stays more moist that way. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls and garnish each with first tortilla chips, cheese and a tablespoon of avocado/ guacamole. This is another point where you can adjust the recipe as needed. For example, I don't eat food with gluten, so I use organic black bean chips or skip the cheese if you can't eat dairy. If you are a dairy lover and can't live without sour cream, you may also add that as part of the garnish. My dad loves to add jalapeño to his.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! Be sure to comment on what you thought if you tried it!