Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Southwest tortilla soup

Over the weekend, my wife in formed me her Tuesday lady’s Bible study was hosting a potluck lunch after class. Since I cook a lot of the meals at home, I used the opportunity to test a new recipe.

I found the original recipe in the article, "Some Like it HOT," in the September 2010 issue of Food Management. While the trade magazine’s pages are mostly devoted to managing large on-site dining operations, I enjoy reading the monthly recipe spreads. Several soups with a south-of-the-border flare caught my eye.

As often happens, the picture that accompanied the recipe for southwest tortilla soup first attracted my attention. The deep green pureed soup drew my attention because it resembled other soups that I often prepare at work (like split pea and cream of zucchini with basil).

I restructured the recipe to accommodate the ingredients that I had on hand at home. The original recipe didn’t include tomatillos. I thought that the addition of the common chili verde ingredient would add a nice bright flavor to the soup.

I also toned down the spice level by eliminating the red habanero and jalapeño chilies. I figured this would be a welcomed adjustment since many of the ladies in the Bible study are older. The milder poblano and canned Anaheim chilies would impart distinct flavor notes while reigning in the spice level.

I also plan on introducing southwest tortilla soup at work in the next week. Other than multiplying the recipe by a factor of four or five, I won’t change anything.


Smoked paprika will add a smokey flavor to the soup.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 sweet onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves
1 poblano chili, sliced
2 roma tomatoes, quartered
1 (7-ounce) can diced green chilies
1 (12-ounce) can tomatillos, cut in half
1 tablespoon cilantro
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups chicken stock
2 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste
Pepper jack cheese, shredded
Cilantro leaves for garnish

In stockpot or Dutch oven, saute onion, garlic, poblano and tomato in hot oil. After onions begin to caramelize, add cilantro, paprika and cumin. Cook for two minutes. Add canned chilies, tomatillos and stock.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes to develop flavors. Add corn tortillas to broth and let cook for additional 5 minutes. The tortillas should completely dissolve in the stock.

Remove from heat and puree soup mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with pepper jack cheese and cilantro leaves. Serves 4 (1-cup) portions.

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