May 16, 2012

Chicken Soup for My Soul...

Last I checked April showers bring May flowers, right?  Well, someone missed the mark on that...  The weather here in New York has been unusual to say the least.  We had 80 degree days in March, freezing temps in April and it feels like it's been raining for weeks... 

Chilly, gray days make me want a bowl of something good.  I had a quart container of "liquid gold" in the refrigerator that had been giving me the stink eye every time I opened the fridge...  It felt neglected, and rightfully so.  

A few weeks back, I had braised some chicken, strained the liquid and set it aside for another use.  That is liquid gold.  It is intensely flavored, uber-chicken-y goodness and while looking around the kitchen I realized I had almost everything I needed for tortilla soup (otherwise known as Mexican penicillin).

So, with a quick trip to get an avocado and a lime it was time to get cooking...

Tortilla Soup
Sopa de Tortilla
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 can diced tomato (15 oz)
  • 2 ancho chile peppers + 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed & leaves picked
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 limes
Ancho Chile Peppers

Ancho Chile peppers are dried Poblano peppers, they can be found in any Latin American market or some grocery stores in the Ethnic food section. 

  1. Heat 2 cups water to near boiling and soak the ancho peppers for approximately 20 minutes.  When peppers are soft, blend to puree.
  2. In a medium stock pot, heat canola oil over medium heat.  Add onions, celery and carrots.  Saute for about 5 minutes to soften.
  3. Add chicken stock, diced tomatoes and ancho puree.  Bring to a simmer, not a boil. Turn down the heat if necessary.  Cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Add shredded chicken, stir and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, add half of the cilantro and stir to combine.  Reserve the rest of the cilantro for garnish.
  6. Garnish with sliced avocado, tortilla strips, a squeeze of lime juice and cilantro.

Tortilla Strips

Heat 2 quarts of oil in a deep pot, leaving at least 3 inches of space from the top of the pot.  While oil is heating, cut tortillas in half and stack on top of each other.   Cut into thin strips.

When oil has reached 350- 360 degrees,  carefully place tortilla strips into oil.  Fry until golden brown and crispy (about 3- 4 mins). 

Remove from oil and lay on paper towels to drain.
Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

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