Friday, September 15, 2006

Test Recipe #3 - Oaxaca Tortilla Soup

Guest post, by the daughter

I am all about trying new recipes. In the last 4 months, I have maybe repeated 3 recipes. I cook 3-4 days a week, eat most of the leftovers, and of course, eat dinner at Mom’s on Sunday. I am always looking for quality and relatively quick meals that aren’t going to cost me a fortune. Recipes that have more than a dozen ingredients tend to discourage me, unless I already have most of them. When Mom signed me up to assist her in testing soup recipes for the chef at Sleeping Lady, I was all for it. We love Mexican food in our house, so I decided to try the Oaxaca Tortilla Soup. A pureed, zesty soup, that is great as a starter, light meal (combined with a salad), or as a main meal if you add a protein (shredded chicken or shrimp would be great). The texture is similar to a tomato bisque, without having to add the cream.

I could not, for the life of me, find the Pasilla de Oaxaca listed in the recipe. Not a pasilla in sight, actually. So to substitute, I used a tablespoon of chili powder, though a bit more wouldn’t have hurt. I also lacked a stick blender, which would have made this a bit more simple (and a lot less dishes!)

Oaxaca Tortilla Soup

6 corn tortillas, cut into ¼ wedges
2 oz olive oil
1 medium dried Pasilla de Oaxaca, ground in a coffee grinder
2 oz butter (1/4 cup)
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
16 oz can of chopped tomatoes (I could only find 14 oz, so I used larger fresh tomatoes)
3 medium tomatoes, cut into ¾ inch dice
2 tsp dried oregano
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup cilantro, leaves and stems (I packed them to make ½ cup, and it was fine)
1 fresh lime, juiced
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped for garnish
Sour cream
Salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, tortillas, and ground chili powder. Spread them out onto a baking pan and bake for 15 minutes at 325°F.

In a 4-quart soup pot, heat the butter until bubbling [I used medium heat]. Add the diced onions and garlic and sauté until golden [just make sure the garlic doesn’t burn]. Over a medium-high heat, add the canned and fresh diced tomatoes to the pot. Add the stock and ½ cup of cilantro, oregano, and bring the pot to a simmer [I turned it down once it began to boil]. Cook for 10 minutes then add the tortillas and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a hand-held stick blender, process the soup until smooth. Add the lime juice and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream [we also sprinkled shredded cheese over].

The chef also suggested the late addition of avocado, salsa, shredded chicken, or prawns. I cubed an avocado and added it to the soup right before serving it, which was a nice addition. The coolness of the sour cream and avocado, with the zesty flavor of the lime juice and chili powder, makes a pretty fun soup.

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