We’ve been busy! I made this soup at the beginning of the month, but we immediately took off for California for our son’s wedding. Pictures and descriptions of that will be up soon but I want to start today with tortilla soup.
Hello, my name is Howard and I love tortilla soup. I’ve made and blogged this topic a few times with different recipes. In January 2012 I made an incredibly easy version that is very tasty. In October 2013 I made another delicious, but a bit more complicated, recipe; I remade that recipe in January 2014 and did a comparison of photos from the two shots. My only disappointment with the 2013/2014 recipe is there are no chunks of tomato in the broth; so when I found a recipe that not only has chunks of tomatoes but uses my new favoritest item – Rotel tomatoes with chilis – I knew I was in.
Before sharing the cooking steps I’ll take a little side trip to tell how I found it. I follow a few blogs. Last summer I discovered Jessica Merchant on How Sweet It Is that covers more than cooking – she does a great job of sharing things in life she is “currently crushing on”. She even has her own recently published cookbook. I also like Bev Weidner’s blog Bev Cooks. In addition to recipes she has a regular “Friday Flotsam” entry that is a mish mash of stuff. Both these young women are professional food bloggers; I admire how they publish regularly even though they have very busy lives raising kids (Bev), being pregnant and publishing a cook book (Jessica).
Anyhow – Jessica led me to Bev (or was it the other way around?) and one day I stumbled across a recipe on BevCooks that came from Ree Drummond . Ree tells her continuing story of her transition from suburban brat to country life in her blog The Pioneer Woman. So, short story long; I found this recipe on Ree’s blog. Normally I publish a link to my copy of the recipe; but I encourage you to go to Ree’s, Bev’s, and Jessica’s blogs.
As you can see, there isn’t a lot to it; tortilla soup is pretty easy to make. I substituted chicken thighs for the chicken breasts that Ree calls for. I find chicken thighs to be tastier and more forgiving of high temperatures.
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of 2For66.com? Here is a picture of the photography set up. You know I’ve been experimenting with different photo shots. On the right is my Sony A65 with a 35mm lens and a flash; on the left is a slave flash (Nissin 622) mounted on a tripod.
Here is a shot of the combined spices
I coated the chicken thighs in a little of the spice mixture and roasted them in the oven for a while. Then I assembled all my ingredients next to the stove in the order they would be used.
I sautéd the vegetables for a bit then added the garlic and remainder of the spice packet for about 30 seconds. Add everything except the cornmeal slurry and tortilla strips (which haven’t been prepped yet).
I took another detour from Ree’s recipe on the tortilla strips. I used a Cook’s Illustrated trick of tossing them in a bit of oil and salt and toasting in the oven.
I prepared the cornmeal slurry while the soup simmered for a bit.
The cornmeal slurry is added as a thickener; then just before serving the tortilla strips are added. Next time I make this I may layer the tortilla strips at the bottom of the individual bowls before serving. They tend to bloat up and break apart when stored in the refrigerator for leftovers.
Dinner is served; diners garnish the soup with a selection of ingredients. I used avocado, Monterey Jack cheese, a couple more tortilla strips and some sour cream.
We couldn’t keep this to ourselves! Elaine, Mary Ann and Jay came over to help us eat it all. Elaine brought appetizers, Mary Ann made a salad, and Carla made dessert.
This was delicious – a definite do over. I encourage you to head over to Ree’s web site to get the recipe.