This Souper Sunday recipe is a family favorite! I got the original recipe from an old Martha Stewart show over 15 years ago. Her guest was Rick Bayless. He's an expert on Mexican cuisine, has several famous restaurants, and even has his own shows on PBS. I love his take on Mexican food! This soup is a great example.
We've made this recipe so many times over the years that we don't even need it to remember what goes the soup. And, the base of this soup is so good that it works great as a starter for other soups. It's incredibly flavorful!
This recipe seemed very involved and a lot of work the first time we made it. But, after that, it seemed to be a lot easier. It's very forgiving and very flexible. Feel free to change things up to your liking. Add more or less ingredients and garnishes. For example, chunks of chicken are really good as well as finely diced and raw radishes (they add a surprising and delicious crunch and color...you can see some in my photo above). In fact, I'm pretty sure I saw the radishes being used on the show but it's not in the actual recipe. Otherwise, I can't imagine that I would have thought to use them. I'd never heard of putting them in soup. But, they sure are good! So, I added it to the list of ingredients. Here's the recipe! Enjoy!
1 large tomato
2 tablespoons corn oil (canola or vegetable oil work fine too)
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon course salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
6 cups chicken stock
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves picked and stems reserved
1 small bunch oregano
4 yellow and blue corn tortillas (any color will do)
1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
1 to 2 dried Pasilla chilies, stemmed, de-veined, and left whole
1 avocado, cut into cubes
4 ounces freshly grated queso fresco (a delicious and unique cheese but we no longer use it to avoid dairy)
4 limes, washed and quartered
1 bunch radishes shredded or finely sliced
1. Heat oven to broil. Line a small oven-proof skillet with aluminum foil. Place the tomato in the prepared pan and broil, turning once or twice, until soft and just starting to char, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, peel, and place the tomato in the jar of a blender. Hint: If you'd like to add fresh, roasted, green chilies to the soup, this a good time to roast them. See step 6.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of corn oil in a medium soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and the garlic. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add onions to jar of the blender. Puree the tomato-onion mixture until smooth.
3. Return soup pot to medium heat. Add remaining tablespoon of corn oil and stir in tomato-onion puree, using a rubber spatula to clean out the blender jar. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. It should be the consistency of a dark, thick ketchup.
4. Whisk in chicken stock. Make a bouquet garni of the cilantro stems and oregano (I just tie a bunch of cilantro and oregano together with butcher twine. I don't worry about just using just the stems of the cilantro.). Add the bouquet garni to the soup, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer until the flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Season soup to taste with additional salt and pepper. Hint: This base works great to create a veggie or chicken soup...just add what you like. An easy and delicious soup at this point is to just add some cooked spaghetti or pasta. Be sure to add a squeeze of lemon to each bowl! It's delicious!)
5. Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes. Crumble the queso fresco cheese. Cut and slice or grate radishes. Cut the tortillas into 1/4 inch strips, heat 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed skillet, over medium high heat, until the oil is shimmering and hot. Carefully add the tortilla strips, standing back as the oil might splatter. Fry until the strips are crisp and brown, 20 to 30 seconds. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Season the hot strips with salt and pepper. Hint: We always make a more tortilla chip strips than the recipe calls for because they're super yummy!
6. In the same hot oil, quickly flash-fry the pasilla chilies, 3 to 4 seconds. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towels to drain. Let cool slightly. Chop the chilies into bits and use as garnish. The flavor is interesting and unique. Hint: Fresh green chilies, like Anaheims, are a delicious alternative. Roast them in the oven when roasting the tomato. Roast until they are charred (turning as needed), put them into a covered container or plastic bag for a few minutes....the steam will make it easier to peel off the skin. Peel, remove stem, seeds, and white ribs, slice and chop into small strips or pieces.
7. It's time to serve it up! We like to set all the garnishes out for everyone to add them as they like to their own bowls. Then, ladle the hot soup on top, squeeze a wedge or two of lime into the bowl (we even toss the wedge(s) into the bowl for extra flavor), top with tortilla chip strips and enjoy!
A super delicious soup with super possibilities! Give it a try! Let me know what you think! And, I'd love to hear about ways you change it up or use it for other kinds of soups. Buen Provecho!