Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tortilla Soup

One of my favorite lunch spots when I go downtown is Frontera Fresco at Macy's, which serves the most fantastic, flavorful tortilla soup. I've been rooting for Rick Bayless on Top Chef Masters; he has brought terrific food to Chicago, as well as a lot of good works.

Last night, I thought I'd try my hand at my own version of tortilla soup. My daughter has a nasty summer head cold, and I thought a hot bowl of spicy soup might comfort her. Plus, my husband was returning from out of town in the early evening, and I figured the soup could wait on the stove to welcome him home.

It was not as good as Rick's, but still pretty tasty. Served with a side salad of chopped romaine, sliced purple onions, grated cotija cheese, and roasted yellow bell and serrano pepper dressing.

Tortilla Soup

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 small onions, chopped
2 boxes chicken stock (8 cups)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 boneless chicken breasts
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 lime
2 ears corn, cut off the cob (or 1 cup frozen corn)
1/2 bunch cilantro

avocados, cut into bite-sized chunks
chihuahua cheese, grated
tortilla chips, broken into pieces
lime wedges

In a large soup or stock pot, saute the garlic, jalapeno pepper, and onion in a little corn oil until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin and the cayenne, and saute until the spices become fragrant. Add the chicken stock and the chicken breasts. Heat to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let cool. Meanwhile, add the canned tomatoes, corn, and cilantro to the soup. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred it and return it to the soup. Check for seasoning and keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, place a small amount of grated chihuahua cheese, some avocado chunks, and some broken tortilla chips in the bottom of a soup bowl. Ladle soup over and enjoy.

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