March 11, 2015

Tortilla Soup

Hello friends, I have no brain today! Sleep has failed me, my head is full of fog. But I have pretty pictures of delicious soup for you, and possibly a stroke of genius last night to break my baking block. I'm off to try it out, have a lovely Wednesday!

Tortilla Soup
Printable Recipe

1-1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
8-10 cups chicken broth
1 very large white onion, quartered
4 large cloves garlic
8-10 stems of fresh cilantro
1 can diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded)
half of a fresh jalapeno pepper
1 chipotle pepper
1 Tb adobo sauce, from chipotle peppers
1-2 cans black or pinto beans
1 can corn (optional)

Optional Toppings:
cotija cheese (usually packed in a round, it is a crumbly, salty cheese that's a bit odd when eaten on it's own, but is essential for topping this soup!)
diced avocado
sour cream
crispy tortilla strips

In a large pot, pour 8 cups of chicken broth. Add the chicken, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and the cilantro. Bring to a boil, then lower to a bubbling simmer for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove the chicken, set on a plate to cool. Strain the broth, discard the onion, garlic, and cilantro, and save the broth.

In a blender or food processor, combine the other two onion quarters and garlic cloves, tomatoes, the chipotle pepper and adobo, and the jalapeno. *Notes: Chipotle peppers usually come in a small can, packed together with smoky adobo sauce. Do not use the whole can!! Pick out ONE pepper. You can freeze the rest for other things. Try and get at least a Tb of the adobo sauce out too. Also, don't be afraid of the jalapeno, as long as you remove the white insides where the seeds are, it really doesn't add much heat at all. Most of the heat is in the chipotle pepper.*

Blend until smooth. Heat 1 Tb olive oil in the large pot on medium high heat. When it is heated, add the tomato mixture and 1/2 tsp salt. (If you are picky about seeds, like me, you can pour and scrape this through a wire strainer to remove any tomato seeds, but it is not necessary) Cook and stir occasionally for 10 minutes, or until thickened and darkened. While you're waiting, shred that chicken.

Pour the reserved broth into the tomato mixture (adding a few cups if necessary , and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. Taste, and add any additional salt. Add chicken, beans (drained or not, up to you!) and corn (if using). Heat through, and serve, with fresh lime quarters to squeeze over, crumbled cotija cheese, and whatever other toppings you like!
I looooove this soup! It might be The Geologist's absolute favorite. Certainly it's the one he requests most often. The broth may look watery, but it's packed with flavor! A hint of smokiness from the adobo, a bit of heat from the chipotle and jalapeno, fresh tomatoes and those yummy herbs cooked into the broth, it all comes together with the tender chicken and beans for a simple soup that is positively mouthwatering!
I like to top this with avocado, lime, cotija, and a teeny dollop of sour cream. If you can't find cotija cheese, diced monterey jack will work. This is a soup worth trying!

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