Soup season is here, filling our kitchens with wafts of simmering vegetables, stocks and stews. My favorite soups to make are usually vegetables pureed with stock and a little cream – thick, substantial wonders full of the essence of pumpkin, broccoli or cauliflower. This weekend I branched out and tried my hand at a broth-y soup in the form of a modified tortilla soup. It has a few more steps than a puree, but is still easy to make and packed with a variety of comforting and exciting flavors.
Tortilla soup is everything I love about Mexican cuisine liquefied into a delicious broth. Tomatoes, onions, chicken, Chipotles, and lime lend all the flavors of enchiladas, one of my favorite things, to a light but hearty soup. The Chipotles add quite a bit of heat; for a less spicy soup try substituting the Chipotles with seeded Serrano peppers. You can also balance the soup’s spiciness with the toppings you choose; homemade tortilla chips, avocado, grated jack cheese, sour cream and pickled onions all will help balance the peppers’ intensity for a more soothing soup.
4 cups of chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 pound of skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon of canola oil plus more for shallow frying
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Chipotle peppers, diced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 limes, juiced
2 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
1/2 avocado, sliced
Pickled onions (optional)
- In a pot, bring the chicken broth, allspice and sliced garlic to a boil. Add the chicken thighs and simmer for about 8 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Set aside chicken and let cool until you are able to shred into bite-sized pieces. Strain broth and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a shallow saucepan. You’ll know that the oil is hot enough if it sizzles when you sprinkle a few drops of water. Fry the tortilla strips until golden brown on both sides. Cool on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in the pan and add the onions, tomato, garlic and Chipotle peppers until the vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, tomato paste and lime juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and add the shredded chicken. Simmer until chicken is heated through. Ladle into bowls and top with tortilla strips, avocado slices and pickled onions if desired. Serves 3-4.
Photos: Emma Haberman
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