In Houston, there are some days that are so long and hot, that you don’t want to cook, at least with a lot of effort. Soup is one of my favorite things to satisfy the appetite after a long (hot) day. It’s usually light and you don’t have to eat much to feel full. One of my favorites is Tortilla Soup. The best recipe I have found is from the Houston Junior League’s book, “Stop and Smell the Rosemary.” The recipe is the best and it’s easy to throw together. If your family needs more than “just soup”, grill up a quesadilla to serve along side the soup. This is a great way to use leftover roasted chicken, too.
Tortilla Soup, de la Houston Junior League
(this is a halved version, which makes about 6 big bowls of soup)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 corn tortillas, chopped into 1/4″ dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium sized white onion, 1/4″ dice
1 (14 ounce can) fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon chili powder
1 bay leaf
4-6 cups chicken broth (depending on how thick you want the soup)
½ teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
½ cooked chicken breast (about 4-6 ounces), 1/4” dice
Juice of 1 fresh lime (please use fresh)
crumbled Queso Fresco to garnish
Avocado, diced, as a garnish
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook till softened. Add tortillas, garlic, and cilantro. Saute another 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice and turn heat to high. Add the cumin, chili powder, bay leaves and chicken stock. When about to be a full boil, turn down to just simmering. Cook for 20 minutes, uncovered. Turn off heat and add chicken and remove bay leaf. Stir until the chicken might be heated through. Add the freshly squeezed lime juice and stir one more time. If not ready to serve, just keep on very low heat and cover until your gang is ready.
Ladle into bowls. Garnish with chopped avocado and a sprinkle of crumbled Queso Fresco. Add a sprig of cilantro if you want.
P.S. As with all things seasonal, add other things, such as chiles, fresh corn, beans, etc as you like. This is merely a nice canvas to start with or plain and perfect as is. Think it would even be an easy and hearty thing to make for a crowd before Christmas Eve church service.
Photo courtesy of Rick Bayless, king of all things Mexican, in my book.