…so here we go.
A friend recently posted an image on Facebook that read, “A year from now, you’ll wish you started today.” Or something like that. So I’ll stop primping and preening my template, overthinking my approach and simply making excuses – and start. Today.
See, I used to have another food blog. It was fun, kept me busy, and was a great break from my life in the clouds (cloud computing that is, AKA my day job). Then I had two kids and that blog was neglected. But I missed it. I missed the community of otherwise strangers that it connected. I thought about picking that up again, but it was no longer part of me. So we begin again.
Join us. Maybe you’ll find some new things to make, maybe you’ll laugh as I recount stories of trying to get my kids to try new foods (or at least willingly ingest a single piece of the dreaded, tear-inducing broccoli), maybe you’ll find a story to share.
But we can’t get anywhere if we don’t start somewhere.
This chicken tortilla soup is a great place to start. Though not easy, it has a rich, complex flavor that’s worth the extra effort. In my house, it’s a standalone meal with some extra tortilla chips.
- 6 dried Pasilla chiles
- Boiling water
- Crispy tortilla strips and chips
- 1½ qts. vegetable oil, for frying
- 14 small (about 6-inch) corn tortillas
- Kosher salt
- 1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt
- 1½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp. (4 to 6 cloves) Roasted garlic
- 1 Spanish onion
- 3 Beefsteak tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup Pasilla chile paste (see below for recipe)
- 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, with suace
- 2 qts. chicken stock
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ lb. crumbled queso fresco (1/2 cup)
- 2 Avocados, diced
- 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
- To make the chile paste, pour boiling water over the dried chilies and soak for 10 minutes. Place chilies and a little of the liquid into a blender and puree, adding just enough liquid to make a paste. (Or use an immersion blender with just a bit of the liquid). Press the paste thru a strainer and use as indicated below. (I freeze any extra for my next batch.)
- Char the vegetables. Place the tomatoes and onions on a baking sheet and place under a broiler, turning occasionally until charred on all sides. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the onion and core and chop the tomatoes.
- To make the tortilla strips and chips, heat the oil to 375°F in a stockpot, using a candy or deep-fry thermometer to monitor the temperature. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to slice 6 of the tortillas into strips about ¼- inch wide. Fry the strips briefly, 30 to 60 seconds, just to crisp them. Use a slotted spoon to carefully transfer the strips from the oil to the baking sheet to drain. Sprinkle with salt while warm, if desired. Cut remaining 8 tortillas into quarters and fry in the same manner. Drain.
- To poach the chicken, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the onion, bay leaf, and 3 to 4 tablespoons salt. Add the chicken and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until just cooked through. Lift the chicken out of the water, drain it, and allow it to cool. Shred it by hand into bite-size pieces. (Discard the cooking water.)
- To make the soup, heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and tomatoes and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste, chile paste, and chipotle chile with sauce and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Stir the tortilla chips into the soup and cook for another 5 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and use a handheld immersion blender to purée the soup until it is very smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and season to taste with salt. (At this point, the soup can be cooled and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)
- To serve, rewarm the soup over medium heat, stirring often. Garnish each serving with sour cream, cheese, avocado, shredded chicken, cilantro, and tortilla strips.