Sunday, January 20, 2013

January Joy: Oaxaca Tortilla Soup

It’s cold outside and I needed something thick and hot that would warm my bones. Rather than cook one of my go-to soups or stews, I decided to try one of Brilliant Daughter’s favorites: Oaxaca Tortilla Soup. This hearty Mexican-inspired soup did just the trick. Flavors abound, from the cool creaminess of the avocado and the sour cream to the zesty flavor of the lime juice and chili powder, combining to make a complex soup that comes together in a jiffy.

While the original version is vegetarian, you can make a heartier version by adding leftover shredded chicken or some cooked prawns. And no worries if you cannot find the dried Pasilla de Oaxaco, you can substitute a dried chipotle or 1 tablespoon of chili or chipotle powder.

Oaxaca Tortilla Soup
6 corn tortillas, cut into 4 wedges
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium dried Pasilla de Oaxaco, ground in a coffee grinder
¼ cup butter or olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
3 medium tomatoes, cut into ¾-inch dice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
1 fresh lime, juiced
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped for garnish
1 avocado, diced
Sour cream
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, tortillas, and chili powder. Spread onto a baking pan and bake for 15 minutes.

In a large soup or stew pot, heat the butter over medium heat until bubbling. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until golden. Turn up the flame to medium-high, and add the canned and fresh tomatoes and the oregano. Add the stock and the ½ cup of cilantro. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the tortillas, and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using an immersion (hand-held) blender, process the soup until smooth. Add the lime juice adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream, avocado cubes, and a sprinkling of cilantro leaves. 

Yield: 4 servings

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