Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sometime last week the weather turned from perfect 70-80 degree afternoons to a cold and rainy, miserable mess. I was, of course, unprepared in a skirt and sandals and BAM! I caught a nasty head cold that very day. I haven't been that sick in a while and was craving my cure-any-cold Tortilla Soup. The only problem was I was not feeling up to cooking it. But soon determination set in (and my mom and Hank helped) and I had my soup. And now that I've got a huge batch in the fridge the weather has turned gorgeous again, and I'm no longer sick. But I'm not complaining... this Tortilla Soup is so delicious I could eat it all week - and I probably will.
1 5-6 lb. chicken
1 quart chicken broth (I use home canned broth, unsalted)
1 quart stewed tomatoes (also home canned, low sodium)
3 bay leaves
2 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, diced with skins on
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large jalapeño
2 1/2 lbs. yellow squash*, sliced into thick rounds
2 1/2 lbs. calabasitas* (could also use zucchini), sliced into thick rounds
3 tbsp. comino
1 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. cajun seasoning (unconventional, I know)
1 1/2 tbsp. seasoned salt
1 tbsp. old bay
2 tbsp. tomato paste
queso quesadilla (or other mild flavored melting cheese)
*pick the smallest squash you can find, they will hold up better in the soup and be a bit easier to eat. Also slice them pretty thick about 3/4"
Put the chicken in a large stock pot breast side down and cover with water. Boil for about 30 minutes until cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool. Remove from the water and pick apart the meat from the bones. (save the carcass to make stock). Strain the water in the pot to remove any bits of skin and bone. Return the meat to the pot with the water. Bring to a boil and add the chicken stock, stewed tomatoes, bay leaves, potatoes, onion, and jalapeño (leave it whole). Cook for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are not quite fork tender. Add all the seasonings, tomato paste and the squash. Simmer until the squash is cooked through, adding seasoning to taste. Remove the jalapeño and bay leaves.
While you are waiting on the soup prep the garnishes. Slice the tortillas in long strips about 1/2" wide. Fry in hot oil until crisp and drain on paper towels. Dice the cheese into small cubes and scoop chunks of avocado.
To serve place a spoonful or so of cheese and avocado into each bowl. Ladle the hot soup over the top. Add a little chopped cilantro and a handful of tortilla strips. Serve with a wedge of lime and additional garnishes on the side.
This Tortilla Soup is so tasty with its rich, flavorful broth, crunchy tortilla strips, hearty veggies, and creamy avocado. It's sure to become a family favorite. Oh, and don't skimp (or skip!) on the garnishes, they really make this soup special.