Saturday, March 30, 2013

Soup #12/ Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup has always been one of my faves and since we were planning a south of the border style menu when family came over, we thought this would be just the right soup for the night!

What you will need: 
-One large pot
-One large pan
-About 4 quarts, or 16 cups of Chicken or Vegetable broth
-Shredded chicken (I baked two chicken breasts with light seasoning in the oven for about 25 minutes and shredded them loosely when they cooled)
-Tortilla strips (I made my own by slicing corn tortilla into strips and popping them in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes on 350 degrees - just keep an eye on them and pull them out when they get crispy...but before they burn!)
-Two cans (15 oz each) of black beans
-One can (15 oz) of corn
-One large brown onion, chopped
-One tomato, diced, or one can of diced tomato
-Olive Oil
-Paprika, Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt, and Pepper to taste

Now, I loosely followed what I'd read on a few different recipes but E and I pretty much made this soup the way we know best - "Atchkee Chop" (remember, this means we measure it by eye - or by taste), so follow along and don't be afraid to add a little more or a little less than what I've written here. Make it so it tastes best to you!

How to make it:

In a large soup pot, heat your chicken broth. I used a frozen homemade broth from soup I made a few weeks back. If your broth is not frozen, just put your pot on medium low heat to simmer. 

In your pan, heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil and brown your chopped onion. Add in the diced tomato with juices and your corn and black beans. Stir until everything is warmed evenly.   Now add in your spices. We used about 1 tbsp each of cumin and paprika, and about a tsp of chili powder. Pepper adds a good flavor, and just a dash of salt is all you need. Stir continuously to avoid burning anything! When it's all well and mixed up. Turn of the heat and  dump your mixture (carefully!) into the pot of broth (assuming it's thawed and now nice and warm - of course!). 

Keep your soup at a simmer, turning up the heat to a solid medium if you need to. Add in your shredded chicken and stir. Now that your soup and flavors aren't so concentrated, take a taste and add in more spices as you see fit. If you want more of that Mexican Taco taste, add a little more of the paprika and cumin. If you want more heat, add more chili powder. Keep it simmering till the soup is hot throughout and you've got the taste you want. Remember that after your done, the flavors will "marry" a little bit and become more evident. You can try making this soup ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge, then reheat on the stove before you serve it. That's what we did and the result was fab!

When you're ready to serve, sprinkle on some tortilla strips and shredded cheese - enjoy!

The Verdict: We really enjoyed this soup, and so did our family. I'd definitely say it was a success. It was more filling than I thought so it's best consumed in smaller portions (we only have big soup bowls here!) or as a full meal. Like I mentioned earlier too, tortilla soup is one of my faves, and while this wasn't as spectacular as some soups I've tasted in restaurants, with a little tweaking, it could definitely be there. 

What we'd do differently: Everyone really enjoyed the soup, but it wasn't too spicy. I'd like to add a little more chili powder to it, or maybe adding some chopped peppers to give it a kick. Some tortilla soups I've enjoyed in the past have been a little creamier. I'm not sure how they achieve the creamy-ness but I'd like to figure it out and give that a try too.