Saturday, January 24, 2009

the tortilla soup adventure

global warming has been spoiling those of us in new york for the past few years but the jig is up. lately (the past month) has been positively frigid. what does this mean for me? i want to crawl under the covers with all the fatty food i can get my hands on. resisting the urge to have an evening full of cheese fries and chocolate chip cookies, i decided soup was the way to satiate my craving. tortilla soup!

i recalled a recipe i had ripped out of the nytimes a couple of years ago and had been saving since. yes, i do this with newspapers and magazines. i have a small pile of recipes on the top of my refrigerator...this particular recipe looked so simple that it was time to try it. i ended up adapting a combination of 2 recipes from the nytimes: the saved one and a more recent one.

the consensus was that although the soup was good, it would be far better if it were blended. (i blame this on The Boy's aversion to tomatoes that are not in pureed form) so off we went, to find an immersion blender, of course. we were really stretching it on this one, running off to target at 9:00 on a friday night. i got distracted in the store (as i often do) and by the time we had discovered that THEY WERE OUT of immersion blenders, it was already 9:30. "bed bath and beyond," he declared. there were a few problems with this. 1) it was already 9:30 and bbb closes at 10. 2) if target was any indication of closing patterns at mass chain stores, they were actually going to be closing at 9:45, if not earlier. 3) target AND bed bath & beyond in one day?! 4) we couldn't quite remember where the bbb was ("it's close, i swear"). in the car we went. actually we ran. we ran to the car and sped off, multiple gadgets going, trying to locate the illusive bbb glowing somewhere in the distance. we navigated mostly by memory from the last time this happened (but that had to do with a britta filter). by the time we flew off the bqe, chain link parking lot fence in sight, it was 9:57. "pull the car up front and jump out," i screamed. but alas, it was the wrong giant queens parking lot and we had somehow missed the correct exit. back home we went, to our chunky tortilla soup. but have no fear, friends! the next day, an immersion blender was purchased, the soup was blended and it was delicious! definitely the way to go for this one...

tortilla soup (serves 4-6)
  • 1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo depending on your preferred spiciness (or other chili of your choosing)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • pinch dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups stock (i prefer chicken)
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • several corn tortillas, cut in strips
  • grated cheese or crumbled queso fresco
  • heat oil in a large pot. add garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. add tomatoes and chilies. season with salt and pepper and oregano. add stock and adjust the temperature so that the mixture simmers gently. simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  • while soup simmers, scatter tortilla strips on top of a paper towel on a plate and cook in the microwave 1 minute at a time until crisp.
  • if you choose to blend, now is the time to do it.
  • stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  • serve in a bowl with the tortilla strips, cheese and avocado.