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Friday, May 20, 2011

Tortilla Soup, from scratch

 Turn this lovely pile of vegetables into Dinner!

Lish's Tortilla Soup - this is one of my all time favorites. 
So healthful, flavorful and economical if you are feeding a crowd. 

1) Boil 1-2 breast(s) of chicken - allow to cool, then shred and set aside
I am the master at stretching meat, and since there are beans in this soup as well, you don't need a chicken breast per person, you just need the taste of it present. I usually calculate 1 breast per three persons.
Also, don't over boil chicken. It makes it tough and chewy. Boil it over medium-high heat, keep an eye on it, use an internal thermometer to check it periodically and pull it off the heat once it reaches 160 degrees.

2) In heavy-grade blender, blend up 3 cups of the broth from the chicken you just boiled, with about 2 tablespoons of corn kernels. Blend it until the kernels disappear and it doesn't sound like a jet is landing in your kitchen any longer.... The corn kernels impart a nice authentic corn flavor.
Please use caution when blending hot liquids. Increase speed slowly, allowing the steam to vent through the removable plastic circle piece found on all blender lids. Cover the hole with a dish towel.

3)I love this recipe for it's versatility and nurition content.
Add in any/all of the following veggies:
 1 carrot stick, 1 celery stalk, 1 small yellow onion,  1-2 tomatoes, 1/2 of a medium sized zucchini or squash, 1" thick slice of cabbage, 1/2 of any color bell pepper, and a healthy sized bunch of fresh cilantro. For a little kick, consider adding a serano and/or a jalapeno pepper. I typically dice the peppers into smaller pieces before blending to ensure that there are no "chunks" of spicy pepper in anyone's bowl.

4)On stovetop, in large soup pot; add the following:
1 can of pinto or black beans; drained (or a can of each for a larger crowd)
1/2 bag of frozen sweet corn
shredded chicken from step #1
Season with 1+ teaspoon each: salt, pepper, cumin, and some variety of chile powder.
Seasoning is always done to taste by the person cooking it, the only thing to be cautious of is salt. Otherwise, bring on the flavor, baby!

5) Pour the blended vegetables over the chicken, beans, and corn and stir together. Bring to a low boil to allow flavor to meld.

Serve with salsa, sour cream, slices of avocado, chopped cilantro, sliced green onion and tortillas chips. All of the toppings are very enjoyable for guests to build their bowl to their personal liking. Enjoy!

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