posts may contain Amazon affiliate links, which earn me a small commission when you buy (but doesn't cost you anything extra). Occasionally I receive free products and/or run sponsored posts—this will always be stated clearly in the post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

This website contains some quotations, excerpts, and screen clips from copyrighted material. These uses fall well within the copyright doctrine of "Fair Use".
Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup ...for Food 'n Flix & the Tortilla Soup Quest!

It probably won't surprise any of you who know me even a little bitty bit that the movie I chose for Food 'n Flix this month was Tortilla Soup{warning: there's a few spoilers in my summary} Tortilla Soup weaves the tale of a Mexican American family...Martín, a widower of 15 years and his daughters Leticia, Carmen, and Maribel.  Martín is a chef who has lost his sense of taste and smell, but still cooks lavish family dinners for his family on a regular basis.  It begins with a food scene so intense that it never fails to make my mouth watering and my stomach rumble.  Fresh chiles, tomatoes, nopales and avocados are plucked from the garden and chopped, sliced, stirred, mashed, cooked and loved into an amazing meal along with beautiful fresh fish all wrapped in green banana leaves and piled high on gorgeous, earthenware platters in the kitchen of my dreams.  This is a story of love and relationships between father and daughters, between sisters, between men and women, between family and food.  From Carmen, the business woman who would rather follow her passion and her father's legacy in the kitchen to Leticia the school marm who surprises everybody by eloping to the youngest, Maribel who is just trying to find herself and be heard.  Love can blossom in the most unexpected places and as long as you have your loved ones around you and begin to accept change...then the flavors and smells of life will come bursting through!

While there is an amazing variety of Mexican and Nuevo Latino food to choose from and drool over, I was ready to try a new version of Tortilla Soup and what better time than immediately after watching Tortilla Soup. Again.  Seriously, I never tire of this film.  The version I made is based on a recipe by Rachael Ray.  Strange, right...I mean, I don't automatically connect her with Mexican food.  But I did change things up quite a bit, but her recipe made a fantastic base.  I do love the enticing, deep  red broth chock full of so many goodies...although in the end, I do prefer a "plain" soup base (as opposed to chunky...really, who needs all those extras in the soup base itself).  Sure, it still needs to back some killer flavor into that base, but really Tortilla Soup is all about the toppings.

One of my favorite parts of this movie is a dinner scene when the family sits down to a steaming pot of Tortilla Soup and Leticia introduces her new husband, Orlando (which the family is meeting for the first time).  Leticia dishes him up a bowl of Martín's Tortilla Soup, and she holds up the toppings in a questioning way and he stammers back nervously... "I love toppings.  I've always liked toppings.  Sometimes I go to restaurants and I just ask for toppings.  You know, I say, the more toppings the merrier.  That's what I say."  Ha ha ha ha ha.  But that's so true.  A tortilla soup is only as good as its toppings.
Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup
inspired and adapted liberally from Rachael Ray via Food Network
serves: 6-8

2 large ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed
2 qt. chicken stock
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 c. corn (from ~4 ears or use frozen, defrosted)
1 large red onion, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1 Tbs. honey
~3 c. chicken, cooked & shredded
salt, to taste

Corn Tortillas, snipped & fried or baked (or break up store-bought tortilla chips or even hard taco shells)
avocado, diced
crema (Mexican table cream)
queso fresco, cubed or crumbled
lime wedges
Combine anchos and chicken stock in a 3 qt. (or thereabouts) pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chiles are tender, ~5 minutes. Turn off heat. Let cool a bit, then transfer chiles to the jar of a blender. Add enough of the broth so that they blend smoothly (~2 c.) and blend until smooth. Set a wire strainer over the pot, then pour back into the pot (trapping the skins in the strainer...discard them). Put about a half a cup of water into the blender jar and swirl it around to get all of the purée that is left on the inside...out. Pour that through the strainer back into the pot, as well and set aside.

Place oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and heat on high. Add the corn and sauté until charred at the edges, ~3 minutes. Reduce the heat a little, add the onions, jalapeños, and garlic. Season with cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon. Sauté for ~4-5 minutes, stirring and moving everything around constantly. The spices will begin to stick to the pan, but as long as you keep stirring, they should not burn. Tip in the tomatoes and their juices, and gently release that beautiful fond from the bottom of the pan.
Add honey, then stir in the the puréed ancho broth and shredded chicken. Let soup bubble, slowly and gently for ~10 minutes to let the flavors come together. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary (this will depend on if you used salted stock or taste it first!).

Pile each bowl high with the toppings (crispy tortillas, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, queso fresco) and ladle the soup over everything. Pass lime wedges for people to squeeze over their servings, as they like.

my thoughts: The flavor of this particular Tortilla soup was sweet, smoky, deep and pretty amazing.  And actually, it was a bit sweet from the corn and the honey and the tomatoes...with that hint of cinnamon that lies beneath.  But the sweetness wasn't an unpleasant sweetness.  It was tempered nicely with that nice smoky heat of the paprika and anchos...and for those of us who wanted to spice it up, we added a few hits of Chipotle Hot Sauce (either Cholula or Tabasco). But, as usual, it was all about the toppings...the cubes of queso fresco add a chewy saltiness...the avocado and crema add cool, creamy spots...the tortillas and chicken add an earthy toothsomeness...and a finishing hit of tangy lime rounds the whole thing out.
So, aside from this being my Food 'n Flix: Tortilla Soup entry, it also allows me to tuck another Tortilla Soup under my belt for my own personal Tortilla Soup Challenge/Quest.

A couple of quick notes: 1) Food 'n Flix goes on the road next month!  That's right, it's going to be a traveling event.  You will still find all the information you need about upcoming flix and hosts (with their flix pix) and previously viewed flix right at the will be "the studio".  You can see the list of future host sites and which movies to rent/buy/borrow/prepare for by looking here2) There is just over one month left of my year-long quest to try (with your help) as many different versions of Tortilla Soup as we possibly can.  If you haven't yet added a soup to the quest, you can still do so any time until the last day of May.  It can be newly posted or previously posted.  I'm not picky.  I just love me some Tortilla Soup.
TortillaSoupChallenge FoodnFlix

I am also sharing this post with:
*Saturdays with Rachael Ray at Taste and Tell
Souper_Sundays2 fridaypotluck FCFButton freshfriday-1 foodfriday Foodie Friday Logo 2 foodiefridaylittlebrickranch

Would you like to comment?

  1. Oh man. I think I just drowned. My mouth is watering so much! That looks SO good! I'm making it as soon as possible!

    Simply Kate

  2. I'm treading here too!! Gorgeous photos! Can only imagine the flavors.

  3. Really? Tortilla Soup? I'm stunned! :P Ha! Funny thing I just downloaded pics of chicken tortilla soup that I made (of course thinking of you when I did) by lately my camera is messed up and it just didn't turn out the way I liked. Now I have to make it again (which my daughter requested anyway) before I dare to post it.

    This one looks like a winner! I love the color of the base too...and I can't forget the toppings... Perfect!

  4. Wow! What a meal! Now that is a good review and a heckuva way to present that tortilla soup. Yum!

  5. I can almost taste yummy...

  6. I have to say, though I'm not usually the biggest Rachael fan...the color in that broth is gorgeous! Sounds like superbly flavored soup!

  7. I love you for this! Well I loved ya anyway but now!!! Now I could marry you. ;) This looks like the best tortilla soup yet! I'm gonna have to make this next week.

  8. Yum!! Excellent soup. Look delicious and is because I love to make it as well. One of my favorite movies. I love the bright colors, the food, the action at the table, it is just a grand movie. It's in my dvd collection and now for sure when I'm home alone, I will watch it and get really happy. Thx for reminding me about it. Happy Easter and take care.

  9. Just look at that deep hued broth!

  10. wow...i can just imagine the different tastes and textures of that soup! drooling

  11. I love the color in that broth and the whole bowl of soup. Another great Tortilla Soup for your quest and of course for Food n' Flix. I am looking forward to hosting in June. ;-)

    BTW--Thanks for sending your soup to Souper Sundays too. ;-)

  12. I never would of thought of adding the honey. When I was younger my bestfriend and I used to stay up late and watch tortilla soup and legends of the fall. Two movies she had on dvd! ;)

  13. Feel like finishing that whole bowl,simply irresistible..

  14. Beuatiful bowl of soup Heather. I loved that movie, have seen it twice and have recommended it to lots of folks. It's been a couple of years since I last watched it, I'll have to put it in my Netflix que.

  15. I've got to see that movie. It sounds like such fun. I've never made tortilla soup at home. That is about to change. Happy Easter Heather.

  16. I just made Reeni's Creamy Tortilla Soup in the Crockpot and it was awesome! MY favorite so far!

  17. Yummy! I've been trying to get around to making a pot of soup for Food N Flix this month. I promise I'll work on it after Easter! This one looks wonderful! Rachel Ray, huh? Who'd a guessed!

  18. It sounds like a fun movie, but the piece de resistance is the soup Heather!

  19. thank you I think you just helped me find a soup my teens would love

  20. oh gosh, that looks incredible. i love all the good stuff that you put in it, delicious!

  21. This looks FABULOUS!! I love a good tortilla soup but I have yet to make it with ancho chilis!! Thanks for linking up to Foodie Friday.

    Oh, and if you haven’t done so already - don’t forget to pop on over to Little Brick Ranch to enter the Joey Totes Earth Day GIVEAWAY!!!

    **Bloggy Tip of The Day - Make sure you have an email address associated with your profile to make it easier for people to reply to your comments!! :) **

  22. all your tortilla soups are just too awsm. This one is my fav .. the bright spicy color .. with that lime .. mouthwatering !!! slurp slurp :)

  23. that IS a good movie - I forgot how much I enjoyed it when I saw it until you mentioned it...


    I must have this soup. Right away.

  24. Every time I scroll the food porn just gets better and better...I am having a food-gasim!

  25. I love this soup, it is awesome killer one.

  26. Heather, this soup looks spectacular! Thanks so much for bringing to Friday Potluck! I still haven't mastered tortilla soup!

  27. Now I'm craving chicken tortilla soup- that looks like a big bowl of comfort!

  28. Wow! What an interesting soup. Wasn't sure what all was in it, so I had to read the recipe carefully. It sounds great!


  29. A great flim, great recipe! Love your Dave Matthews quote.

  30. I love your adventures with tortilla soup - I think this one looks like a winner just for the incredible rich colour!

  31. Thanks for recipe.Looks great in photo :)

  32. This looks so yummy! I think I'm going to make it for dinner tonight and then the desert that you posted today! Thanks for my menu!

  33. That is seriously a gorgeous bowl of soup!! Thanks so much for participating in Saturdays with Rachael Ray!!!