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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Creamy Tortilla Soup w/ Chicken & Corn

Creamy Tortilla Soup w/ Chicken & Corn
With less than two weeks to go in my year-long quest to try as many versions of Tortilla Soup as possible...with the help of my friends...I want to share this creamy version that has an unexpected heat that seems to lie beneath the bright, creamy pool that fills each spoonful.

I was intrigued by a tortilla soup recipe that Carol linked up the the quest, and decided I needed to try it as soon as humanly possible. It was a creamy version...and I had yet to try a TS labeled "creamy". I was completely intrigued by the use of turmeric in the recipe...but also saw some things I wanted to add or change up a bit. Since there were no chiles in the original recipe, I knew that I would need to add some heat.

My last version, while awesome, was completely mild. I can't forsake the heat for too long in this house or I'll get hecklers shouting from the peanut gallery. I wound up loving this version. It was right up there with the best of them.
cheese and limes

Creamy Tortilla Soup w/ Chicken and Corn
This creamy version of tortilla soup has sweet bursts of corn and tender chunks of chicken in each bite, plus it finishes with a slow, pleasant heat.
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Creamy Tortilla Soup w/ Chicken & Corn
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: soup/stew Mexican

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
    for the soup:
    • olive oil
    • 2 small onions, chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
    • 2 Aji Amarillo chiles, seeded & stemmed
    • 4 corn tortillas, ripped into smallish pieces
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with chilies
    • 1 quart chicken broth or stock
    • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
    • 1 cup (fresh or frozen) corn kernels
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    to garnish:
    • crema or sour cream
    • corn tortillas, cut into strips and fried
    • lime wedges
    • Monterey Jack (or Pepper Jack) cheese, shredded
    Heat a large glug of olive oil in a medium Dutch oven (or deep, heavy pot) over medium heat; sauté onions and garlic for ~3 minutes, or until softened and just beginning to color.

    Add tortillas, chiles, and spices and sauté for another few minutes, stirring constantly, until you get a warm hit of spices and earthy corn wafting up to assault your senses. Pour in tomatoes w/ their juices and the chicken broth/stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let bubble gently for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

    Purée in batches in a blender until smooth. Set a strainer over the same soup pot and pour the mixture through it, pressing to get all the liquid through and leaving any seeds or skins behind. (You could also use an immersion blender at this point...but then it's kind of annoying to strain it into another pot or bowl and then pour back maybe you won't want to strain it. I just figure if I'm going for a cream soup, I strain it because I don't want any "bumps" in my creamy sensation.)

    Add chicken and corn and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for ~5 minutes or until it has thickened up a bit. Turn off heat and stir in cream and cheese. Season to taste with salt.

    Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with tortilla strips, crema, and extra cheese (if you like), serving lime wedges alongside for individual squeezing.

    -inspired by & adapted from There's Always Thyme to Cook
    Creamy Tortilla Soup

    Creamy Tortilla Soup