Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is mentioned in the post Flexible Training:  Coping with minor illness & injury.  The recipe follows.  Quality homemade soups are great at fighting off cold and flu like ailments and are just plain delicious and good for our bodies even when we are well.  Just spending time processing the ingredients can relieve congestion.  All great soups start with a great stock.  Many diverse methods and ingredients exist, through the years of trial and error I found the following to yield the best results.  In a 4 – 6 quart soup pan combine:

Celery:  few stalks sliced lengthwise
Carrots:  few whole carrots quartered lengthwise
Large Onion:  quartered
½ Head of Garlic:  minced
Whole Chicken:  (reserve breasts for another use) partitioned and major bones cut in half, roll in salt and pepper
Tomato Paste:  few spoonfuls
Basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaves
Filtered Water:  To cover all ingredients

By breaking the chicken’s bones the marrow can be part of the stock.  Commercially available beef bones used for stocks typically have the marrow exposed as they are cut by saw prior to purchase.  If available, fresh garden herbs will greatly enhance the stock.  Bring everything to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cover or uncover and add water to achieve the desired level of stock.  Typically 2-3 hours will yield a good stock at the expense of the crispness of the vegetables.  Use a metal strainer to reserve the liquid and discard the vegetables.  The chicken meat can be reserved for another use if freezing the stock for future use.  Freezing this stock is great for coping with unexpected illnesses, which was my case recently.

The tortilla soup portion goes quick in comparison to preparing the stock.  In a pan combine:

Olive Oil:  To coat
Six Jalapeno Peppers:  fresh, whole
Head of Garlic:  separated into unpeeled cloves

Using low to medium heat blacken the jalapeno peppers on all sides – about 10 minutes.  Remove the peppers and garlic.  Stem and seed the peppers as desired to adjust the heat of the soup (a lot of heat is in the seeds).  Peel the garlic.  Combine the garlic and peppers in a blender with

Whole Tomatoes:  28 oz (fresh or canned)
Wipe the pan with a paper towel and add olive oil as necessary.  Add:

Onion:  diced

Cook the onions to the desired firmness and then add the tomato, pepper, and garlic mixture from the blender.   Also add:

Chicken Stock
Chicken:  bite size, cooked

Bring to a boil and reduce to low heat.  Serve with

Queso Fresco
Tortilla Chips


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