Chicken Tortilla Soup, Berries with Cardamom Cream

3 Apr


Today a friend came over for lunch, and since the weather has cooled down again this week, I figured it was the perfect time for a soup. I’m generally not that much of a soup eater, but chicken tortilla is my favorite soup of all time. I order it almost any time I can find it on a menu. Strangely, I’ve never made it before. Today I made Tyler Florence’s recipe, but with a few modifications that sounded good from reviewers.

First, you cook down diced onion, tomato, jalapeno and garlic until it gets “pulpy.”

Then you’ll add in chicken stock, lime juice, corn and beans along with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. (Mr. Florence’s original recipe included a recipe for making your own chicken stock, which alas I didn’t do, because I am too lazy. But check the link above if you’re interested.) While all that’s simmering, fry up some tortilla strips. Because what would chicken tortilla soup be without the tortillas?

By the way, this pile-o-chips is huge because the original recipe called for 8 tortillas. That is wayyyy too many. My foodnetwork reviewers failed me on mentioning this. I would half the amount. Also important, let the oil re-heat between batches to ensure that your tortilla strips are nice and crispy.

While the soup is simmering, cook, then shred, a 1-lb chicken breast.  To shred, hold one end of the cooked breast while tearing the other with the tines of a fork along the natural lines of the breast. (I neglected to take a picture of this, but will add one next time I make the soup… which I’m sure will be soon!) I added the chicken into the soup and let it simmer for a while before serving.

To garnish, add tortilla strips, fresh avocado, jack cheese and cilantro.

Verdict: awesome. I only wish I had more. Next time, I will double the recipe.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium white onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
1 quart chicken stock
Juice from 1 lime
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Canola oil, for pan-frying
4 corn tortillas, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
Seasoned salt
1 lb shredded cooked chicken
2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
1 cup shredded Jack cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
1 lime, cut in wedges, for serving

Place a stockpot over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, and tomatoes; cook, stirring for 25 minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and pulpy. Pour in the stock, lime juice, corn and beans. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1-inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high flame. When the oil begins to smoke, add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until they are crisp on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter and sprinkle with seasoned salt while they are still hot.

Ladle the hot soup into 4 soup bowls and put a pile of shredded chicken on top of each. Top with the diced avocado, fried tortilla strips and cheese. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

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For dessert I decided to keep it light with some fresh strawberries and blueberries topped with cardamom cream.

Here’s the basic recipe I use for whipped cream. Excellent with raspberries and pound cake as well. YUM.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

You can also use cinnamon if you don’t have or don’t like cardamom. This little something “extra” is what really does it for me. I whip the cream with a hand-held mixer, but I’d recommend using an immersion blender if you have one, it’s much faster.

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