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Good morning everybody!
Now that the World Cup has ventured into the knockout rounds it just felt like it was time to pay food homage to one of the remaining participants. For today’s menu we offer tribute to MEXICO!
El-Tri has been having quite the World Cup after winning their first 2 matches handily then needing some help from South Korea to vault them into the final 16.
Actually, I’m grasping here since I’m not entirely sure this dish is authentic Mexican fare. It’s probably as Mexican as the fucking “Enchirito.”
Regardless, I figured I would give you a break from the usual overly-caloric food goodness I regularly feature and bring something relatively healthy to the table.
Yes, we’ve done soup on Sunday Gravy before.
Remember this beauty for lentil soup prepared with a beef rib bone?
How about this really tasty recipe for clam chowder?
All coming back to you now?
Today’s inspiration was a good one. A few weeks ago I took my entire brood of offspring to Angels Stadium to see the L.A. Angels take on the Tampa Bay Rays. My oldest granddaughter is first of all an Angels fan – dammit – and second of all was part of a large collection of school bands from the South Bay area that performed the National Anthem on the field before the game!
It was really, really fun and the Angels lost to one of the shittiest teams in baseball. So yeah.
Our very own SonofSpam let me know that he would also be in attendance at the game so I mentioned which section my crew was sitting in and sure enough, later in the proceedings there he was! Mr. Spam and I have hung out several times before with some of the unique tribe known as the LADFO gang.
We have gang signs and everything!
No, that would be weird.
Anyway I also had the great privilege of meeting his wife, WifeofSpam. Mr. Spam has a beautiful family and it was nice to converse with the missus for a few minutes. When I mentioned that I was the resident food guy on this here site, WifeofSpam asked me “Can you make tortilla soup?” Actually I’ve messed around with it once or twice but had never documented it before and I was intrigued.
In addition, she asked about a couple of other dishes that just may be in the Sunday Gravy pipeline for future menus.
I really do take requests!
Really fucking really!
If anyone has a request for a possible dish for Sunday Gravy you can always drop a note in the comments and I will either give it a whirl or give it a hearty “no fucking way.”
I’m flexible like that.
Either way it doesn’t hurt to ask.
What do we know about tortilla soup?
Well, it lends itself to cold weather well, it has tons of possibilities for variation and it can be as easy to make or flat-out fucking technical as hell to make as desired.
I wasn’t feeling THAT technical.
I did a bunch of research prior to giving this a try and took a little of this recipe, some of that recipe, a little of my own past memories of flavors that played well together and just pretty much made shit up as I went along.
One of the first controversial issues about this meal was to either fry fresh corn tortillas; not fry fresh corn tortillas and just use fresh strips of tortilla or just fucking cheat and use a bag of corn chips.
Yep. We fried that shit.
Let’s go ahead and dive right into this bowl of soup.
Not actually, but…
3 tablespoons of cooking oil.
6-8 fresh – or stale – corn tortillas
1 rotisserie chicken – store bought even!
1 onion chopped pretty fine.
1 pasilla chili pepper – fire roasted of course.
3-4 cloves of garlic.
1 tablespoon of paprika.
1 teaspoon of chili powder.
2 teaspoons of cumin.
1 teaspoon of dried coriander.
28 oz give or take of chicken stock – yes store bought again.
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. I used a can of Muir Glenn fire roasted crushed tomatoes.
2-3 bay leaves.
1 cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels.
1 15 oz can of black beans.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Some grated cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese.
1-2 limes cut into wedges.
Garnishes can include chopped cilantro, fresh parsley or even (shudders) chunks of avocado. Don’t start with me! You already know my scorching hot avocado takes.
First thing we want to do is fire roast our pasilla pepper.
This technique should be common practice now. It’s the one where we lay the chili right on the goddamn burner on top of the stove and scorch that fucker until the skin blisters and blackens. Put the pasilla into a bowl and cover the bowl with foil to steam the burnt skin loose.
Some of the recipes said the corn tortillas don’t crisp right when frying if they are too fresh. In order to correct that we preheated the stove to a low 215 degrees, then took each tortilla and either sliced it or tore it in half.
Next we’re going to dry out our tortillas in the preheated oven to prepare them for frying.
Cook for about 10-12 minutes on low heat.
While the tortillas are getting “unfresh” we’re going to peel the fire roasted skin from our pasilla.
See how easy the skin comes off when you let it steam for a few minutes? That’s goddamn genius at work!
Chop it up nicely along with some onion and garlic.
The onion and chili doesn’t have to be chopped up too fine because I have a really cool damn thing to show you in a bit.
Now we’re going to take those pre-cooked wedges of tortilla and cut them into nice strips.
Heat up a large Dutch oven, add the cooking oil and fry them damn tortilla strips!
Fry them I sez!
Drain on a paper towel and set aside for now. I actually tried several variations of the tortilla. I did indeed try some cut into strips and not fried. They were OK but I preferred the first few bites with the fried strips in them while the strips were still nice and crunchy.
I also had some leftover soup and I used a handful of store bought tortilla chips and they went very quickly from “These are too crispy and I’m splashing really hot soup all over my fucking chin!” to “Where the fuck did the tortilla chips go?”
I fully endorse the fried corn tortilla method here.
Now that that riddle has been solved let’s make some motherfucking soup!
Let’s start by sauteing our onion and peppers.
Give these about 5-7 minutes to give them a nice sweat and to cook them until just translucent. Now sprinkle the cooked veggies with all of the spices except the bay leaves. Stir until aromatic as fuck-all and everything is combined.
Then we are going to add in the crushed tomatoes, the chicken stock, garlic and 1/3 of the cooked tortilla chips along with the bay leaves.
Give this a simmer over a medium-low heat for about half an hour. Give it a stir occasionally.
We saved ourselves a little labor today by purchasing a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Shove some of that tasty, still hot chicken right into your gob, then remove the skin, shove that into your gob too and shred the chicken by hand.
Have you ever bought a store bought chicken like this and just grabbed 3-4 beers, a roll of paper towels, dispensed with any vanity and just fucking devoured that damn thing with zero shame?
UH, me neither! That would be nuts. Who the fuck would do that? Buncha fucking savages!
Back to the soup.
Once the soup has cooked and reduced a little it’s time to show you something pretty goddamn cool.
Which brings us to today’s badass kitchen toy.
A KitchenAid KHB1231 2 speed hand blender!
Look at this sexy motherfucker!
If there isn’t an optional Hitachi attachment for this bastard then that’s a goddamn missed opportunity right there!
This did come with a 3-cup measuring cup that had a lid and it’s perfect for making smoothies.
Bonus smoothie recipe!
1/4 cup of orange juice.
Handful of fresh strawberries.
1 banana broken into chunks.
Put everything in the 3 cup measuring cup and apply the hand mixer to blend.
We will be using the blender to emulsify the soup at this point. Put the working end of the blender into the pot and blend away!
Next we will add in the chicken, the corn and the black beans and bring to a low simmer. If you want to use the (shudders) avocado, add it in here.
This only requires maybe 5-10 minutes to get everything combined and get all of the ingredients happy and harmonious.
To prepare our serving bowl for soup delivery we are going to?
I know that you can do THAT!
Put a handful of the tortilla strips into a bowl, throw on a handful of your choice of cheese, then finally ladle the soup over the nachos in your serving bowl…
Give this a nice squeeze of the fresh lime – it really works here – and commence with the slurpage!
Bold. Slightly spicy – you can adjust to your own preference here, the tortillas give the soup a rich corny goodness, the chicken is well, chickeny and delightful and the fresh burst of lime really adds a brightness to lighten up a fairly dense soup. Plus you have all of the Southwest elements by adding in the black beans and the corn.
This is a goddamn keeper!
Nice choice WifeofSpam! Thank you for the inspiration.
Again, you never know where inspiration will find you. It can find you as you watch the Food channel, it may find you in a doctor’s waiting room when reading a food and wine magazine or maybe it can even find you after you’ve had about 5 beers at a baseball game.
You never fucking now.
Thanks for reading along folks.
I appreciate you being there.
Enjoy the rest of the World Cup.