Wednesday, March 27, 2013

rick bayless tortilla soup

I thought everyone knew who Rick Bayless was, but Jeff had no clue, and Emily didn't know either...but he makes mexican food look healthy and good...

I found the recipe here

Makes 10 cups, serving 6

1 large dried pasilla (negro) chile, stemmed and seeded (the black ones in the grocery store.  I suggest using 1.5 or 2)
One 15-oz can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
2 tblsp vegetable or olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts chicken broth
1 large sprig fresh epazote, if you have one (I've never found this ingredient)
4 (about 1-1/4 lbs total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch thick cubes (I have always used a rotisserie chicken)
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1-1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded Mexican melting cheese, or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
A generous 4 cups (about 6 oz) roughly broken tortilla chips
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving
I also add corn and black beans to give it some more heft.

Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds, until its aroma fills the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.) Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender, along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, but it won't completely puree the chile.)

Everytime I make this, I wish I'd done this step first...the onions can cook while you are toasting and pureeing the chile and tomatoes.  Heat the oil in a large (4 quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender; set the pan aside. Process until smooth.

Return the pan to medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and epazote if using. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth). 

Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth. Divide the avocado, cheese and tortilla chips among the serving bowls. When the chicken is done, ususally about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls. Pass the lime separately. Rotisserie or grilled chicken can stand in for the raw chicken breasts (add it at the last second). I add the corn, beans and chicken right before serving and just heat til warm. 

We like it with sour cream, cheese, and avocado and of course tortilla chips.  Also, the first time I made this I pretty much assumed my kids wouldn't eat it.  I thought it would be too spicy or they'd think it was weird, but everyone ate it and loved it (even Calvin).  It's really just a chicken taco soup. 

Here's a time saving tip...whenever I make this soup, I double the ingredients up until I blend everything (the tomatoes, chili, onions, garlic).  Then I divide the mixture in two, put one part in the pot and the other part in the freezer.  I don't recommend reducing both mixtures at once, it takes a long time and splatters all over the kitchen making a mess, and almost making this a non time saver.   But when you have a busy day, and need an easy meal, all you have to do is pull the mixture out of the freezer pop it in your pan, reduce it and add the broth, chicken (and beans and corn if you are me)...I always make this on a day that I go to the store, so I always buy a rotisserie chicken.  Easy peasy. 

1 comment:

jamie k said...

My new favorite soup!! It was sooooo good. I added some chopped cilantro before eating.