Saturday, November 2, 2013

Chicken and Tortilla Soup

I was going to write about how fall is great for soup, but it hit 71 degrees today, so I'd be a liar if I said this was soup weather. I do, however, have a ton of chicken stock in my freezer, and more bones ready to be made into additional stock, so I needed to do something with it. Surprise, surprise, I went with a Mexican dish. Recipe modified from:

8 oz. Masa Harina
10 oz. Warm water
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix masa and salt in a bowl, add the water and mix until a dough forms. It should be just slightly tacky – adjust amount of water or masa if too far in either direction.

Break the dough into 9 equal sized pieces (about golf ball sized) and place a towel over the ones you aren’t using. One at a time, place the tortillas between saran wrap and use a heavy object/rolling pin to roll out the tortillas into circles.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium (no oil needed). Cook the tortillas about 45 seconds per side, until they just start to show some browning in spots. Repeat with remaining tortillas. You’ll only need 6 for the soup, so you’ll have enough for a few tacos left.

2 tablespoons bacon grease
1 medium white onion, diced
2 anaheim peppers, deseeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 quarts chicken stock
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon oregano
3 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 large chicken breasts
6 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons masa harina
2 tablespoons lime juice
Avocado slices
Shallots (diced)

Heat the oven to 425°F. Salt the 2 chicken breasts and roast for approximately 40 minutes, until they hit 165°F. Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes or so. Shred the meat using forks or your hands (I think using your hands is better). 

Chop the onions, peppers and garlic. Heat a 6 quart dutch oven over medium and add the bacon grease. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic, stirring occasionally and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, and salt and pepper (phew). Taste and adjust seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes.

While the soup is doing its thing, add enough canola oil to a 12” cast iron skillet so that there’s a few centimeters of depth to it. Heat the oil over high to about 250°F. Cut 6 tortillas into strips and add to the oil in two batches. Cook for about 1 to 1.5 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the tortilla strips start to crisp. Remove to a sheet pan lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

Back to the soup: After the initial 45 minutes of simmering, add the shredded chicken. Mix 2 tablespoons of masa with warm water to create a slurry and add to the soup. Add the lime juice. Adjust seasonings as needed. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes, then turn off heat and allow to stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Ladle the soup into a bowl, add the fried tortilla strips, avocado slices, diced shallots, and cilantro to garnish.


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