Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tortilla Soup: Soup as Sculpture for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays and the Food n' Flix Pick: "Tortilla Soup"

What else do you clip from magazine besides recipes? I have folders for my clippings on exercise, new products I want to try, and "good ideas" that I think are interesting. Usually these ideas center around home decor, parties, table setting and different ways to serve food and drink. I think food should look good and be "fun" so when I found a recipe feature in an old Metropolitan Home design magazine that showed a bowl of tortilla soup served in a unique way, I had to pull it out and save it. The magazine picture showed a small bowl of shredded chicken, topped with guacamole and with several long, thin strips of fried tortilla standing upright in the bowl with someone pouring the soup broth into the bowl from a small pitcher. How fun is that?! And how great for a party--just hand out the little bowls full of goodies and go around and pour the soup in. The recipe, with it's red pepper and tomatillo flavored broth looked pretty good too.

A good excuse to try it? My tortilla soup fanatic friend girlichef has an ongoing challenge for her favorite soup on her blog, and she also picked the movie Tortilla Soup for her Food n' Flix event. Perfect timing for an "arty" bowl of tortilla soup goodness!

I have reviewed Tortilla Soup--the movie before (see this post with Mark Bittman's version of the soup) so I won't go into a full review here. Suffice it to say, it is a favorite feel-good food movie of mine, that I pull out now and then when I need a little escape. It's a remake of Ang Lee's Chinese foodie flick Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, this time set around a Mexican-American Family. In addition to the tortilla soup, there is all manner of delicious Mexican food in the movie as the father Martin is a restaurant owner and cook and eldest daughter Carmen would like nothing better than to quit her corporate job and join him--much to Martin's disapproval. Since Carmen likes to put her own modern twist on the more traditional foods Martin cooks each week for the family dinner, I have a feeling she would love this soup but Martin might not ... at least not until he gets a taste!

Tortilla Soup
Chef Randy
Zweiban, Metropolitan Home, May 09
(Serves 6)

2 chicken legs, drumsticks & thighs separated (I used rotisserie Chicken breasts)
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Tortilla Soup:
3 cups canola oil (I cut this down to about 1/2 cup)
6 white-corn tortillas
1/4 cup canola oil (I cut this down to 1 Tbsp)
1 cup chopped red onion
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
tomatillos, husked and diced
1 pickled
serrano pepper (I used a regular serrano pepper)
2 quarts vegetable stock
3 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped

1 ripe
Hass avocado, halved, seeded and peeled
1 Tbsp finely diced red onion
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

To prepare chicken: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer saute pan to oven and roast until meat is cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Let chicken cool slightly at room temperature. when chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones. Shred meat into bite-sized pieces, set aside.

To make soup: Heat oil to 325 degrees F. in a large sauce pan or home fryer. Halve tortillas, then cut into 1/8-inch thick strips. Working in batches, add handfuls of tortilla strips and fry, carefully stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside 1 cup for garnish; reserve the remainder for the soup. Discard oil.

Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic,
tomatillos, and serrano pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Add stock, bell peppers, and reserved tortilla chips, and simmer until peppers are tender, about 35 minutes. Carefully transfer to a blender and puree until smooth, working in batches if needed.

To make guacamole: Combine avocado, onion, lime juice and cilantro in a medium bowl. Mash together with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve: Divide shredded
chicken and guacamole among six small serving bowls. Stick tortilla strips in guacamole. Pour hot soup into bowls just before serving.

Notes/Results: Excellent! Although I made the recipe mostly for the presentation, it turned out to be a really great bowl of tortilla soup. The broth has great flavor--you can taste the red pepper and tomatillo and it gets a nice lightly spicy kick from the serrano pepper. The creamy guacamole adds both texture and flavor. I kept the recipe mostly the same--just used a rotisserie chicken and reduced the oil. I find I can cook/fry my tortillas in about about 1/2 cup of the oil in small batches in my pan and get a good result, so I hate to waste it by using more. If you wanted to make this a vegan or vegetarian dish, you could omit the chicken and add a can of beans or brown rice. I would definitely make this again--a little bowl to kick off a Mexican fiesta dinner party would be fun. I would double the guacamole recipe though!

So this fun sculptural take on tortilla soup is going to:

Click on the links to join in either of these fun events.

Let's get into the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here this week.

girlichef has two dishes this week, a soup and a sandwich that you'll see later on. A book review inspired her soup and she says, "From tears in my eyes to cheeks that ached from grinning to a belly that grumbled at me from the fabulous descriptions of food and recipes on these pages, there were many different aspects of this book that I enjoyed. I actually find myself wanting a sequel so that I can experience the next stage in Ginny's journey. From the first ghost-summoning recipe for her Nonna's Ribollita all the way to Ginny's own version in the end...I knew that this was what I would wind up making first from this book. And I am so glad that I did."

Also "double-dishing it" this week is Janet from The Taste Space with a soup and a salad. About her filling Spanish Lentil and Squash Stew with Roasted Garlic, she says, "This is a lovely, hearty stew that is both savoury but still slightly sweet. Lentils fill the stew as its base, and the butternut squash and red peppers add colour and sweetness. A head of roasted garlic brings a mellow sweetness as well. ... Instead of adding in two fresh tomatoes (nothing with a fresh taste is around during the winter!), I added 1 cup of passata (strained tomatoes) at the end. This is where you get a silky tomato base for the stew that complements the squash, bell pepper and lentils so well."

Shirley from Enriching Your Kid! is back at Souper Sundays with this simple Drumstick Soup and says, "A vacation... ... is when I can snooze in the day without having to worry whether my kids are murdering each other. What's your idea of a vacation? While I am enjoying myself eating chaat, meeting up with friends and a lot more, I leave you with this yummy drumstick soup. Drumstick is known to be a great source of calcium and a blood purifier."

Debbi from Debbi Does Dinner... Healthy & Low Calorie made a colorful Carrot Chipotle Soup and says, "I loved this super creamy, delicious soup. It was extremely low calorie and I've already made it twice. The first time I used the amount of chipotles that Biz used. Holy cow, that woman's mouth must be made of steel. It knocked my socks off with spice. But it was still good, though I had to dilute it a bit. The second time I cut the adobo chipotles in half and it was fine. Super tasty and totally a keeper!"

It is nice to have Danielle from Cooking for My Peace of Mind at Souper Sundays, and this week she is back with a creamy White Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup. She says, "This soup is dedicated to winter....who refuses to let go and let it be spring. To the hopes of warmer weather and comfortable nights. This soup is dedicated to everyone who does not live in Southern California. ... The flavor is smooth and tangy. The garnishments are a must! They add additional flavor, especially the lemon zest which adds a nice, fresh zing! Here's to warmer weather to come and the last of the winter soups!"

Pam from Sidewalk Shoes has a Hot and Sour Chicken Noodle Soup in a pretty new bowl to share this week. She says, "I know it’s spring. But just because it’s spring, that doesn’t mean I give up my cravings for soup. Because really, is there anything more perfect than a lovely bowl of soup? Everything you want, right there in a bowl. And if it’s in a lovely bowl, even better. See these? These are my pretty new bowls from HomeGoods. HomeGoods. My most favorite store on the planet. And yes, the design is a little smudged on one of them, which is really funny. Why is it funny? Because I stood there at the shelf, with my husband’s help, picking and choosing and putting back the ones that weren’t perfect, and somehow I still brought home a smudged one. We are pathetic."

Zibi from Fresh Slowcooking is very busy getting ready for baby #1, but she still managed to make a delicious bowl of Tom Yum Soup with Coconut & Chicken (Tom yum nam khon) to share this week. She says, "One of my favourite soups -- I love the heat from the curry paste, the freshness from the coconut and lime, and the nutrients from the broccoli, cauliflower and chicken. A healthy and complete meal easily prepared in your slow cooker."

Fellow soup-lover Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice made a bright and hearty Roasted Winter Squash Soup and says, "This rich and creamy soup brings together the earthy flavors of both acorn and butternut squash with caramelized onions and salty bacon. Seasoned with thyme and sage herbs and a pinch each of warm nutmeg and cinnamon spices, the natural sweetness of the squash is enhanced. The onion and bacon are meant to be a garnish, if you prefer you can add more and stir it right in along with the onion."

Tigerfish from Teczcape--An Escape to Food has a healthy, satisfying Tofu, Shrimps and Celery Soup - 豆腐虾仁芹菜汤 to share this week and says, "...not any thick soup but a light yet substantial soup with vegetables and proteins. A perfect soup for spring and maybe a regular during summer. Those succulent shrimps, tender cubes of tofu and added crunch from the celery dices - the textures are exciting and flavors promising."

Swathi from Zesty South Indian Kitchen is back with a colorful Jicama, Mixed Bell Pepper Salad with Red Wine Mustard Orange Vinaigrette and says "...My hubby cut jicama, red and green bell pepper, carrot, apple, radish and lettuce into bite size chunks. He always does that in the name of helping me. In turn I made vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, orange juice, shallot, salt, black pepper and olive oil. I didn’t add any sugar, and the only sweetness is from red wine vinegar and orange juice. It is really delicious dressing which goes well with the salad."

For her salad, Janet from The Taste Space, made this unique Wheat Berry Salad with Kohlrabi, Apple and Sunflower Seeds and says, "Reminiscent of two of my favourite wheat berry salads, a bright citrus dressing pairs incredibly well with plump, nutty wheat berries. The salad is flavoured with a tart-sweet crisp apple, chopped sweet red pepper, dried cranberries as well as crunchy carrots and sunflower seeds. I added lots of cilantro and mixed in slivered baby spinach (pea shoots were great, too!) for more body. While it may seem counter-intuitive, a tip I’ve picked up for wheat berry salads is to dress it right before serving. Otherwise, the wheat berries sop up the dressing and it becomes dry when eating them as leftovers."

Making her first appearance at Souper Sundays this week is Miriam from In Vogue At Home, joining us all the way from India and here with a Corn Pepper Lime Salad. She says, "I saw some really fresh corn in the veggie shop today and decided to buy it, without having a clue as to what I want to make with it. Anyway,I have had this flavoured corn in a cup at least a zillion times when we go out (mostly found in Malls). I used to have them even when we were in Bahrain. My favourite flavour is Lime and Pepper. So for a lazy Sunday evening, I decided to try making this as evening snacks. It turned out easy, healthy and tasty. Its really simple..." Welcome Miriam!

Akheela from Torviewtoronto is here with a nourishing, warm Salad of Quinoa and Vegetables, made with carrots, beans, celery and cabbage and seasoned with chili powder. An easy to make dish, Akheela says that you just cook the quinoa in broth then "Heat oil add the vegetables and chillie powder if using and stir fry until it is cooked to preference. Add the cooked quinoa and toss to blend with the flavours. Serve hot."

girlichef's second dish is this ooey-gooey grilled cheese, The Wisconsinite, and she says, "Were you aware that Colby cheese was invented in Wisconsin? Or that Wisconsin lays claim to 46 different blue cheeses? How 'bout the fact that cranberries are Wisconsin's numero uno fruit crop? Or that the Mustard Museum makes its home in Wisconsin? Did you know that for a very short time period I made my home in Wisconsin? All of those facts, aside from the last, were laid out in the intro to this utterly addicting grilled cheese sandwich in grilled cheese, please! by Laura Werlin."

Wow! So many wonderful soups, salads and even a yummy grilled cheese this week. A big thanks to everyone who joined in. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sunday logo for all of the details.

Have a great week!


  1. Thanks for accommodating my late entry to this week's round up! :)

  2. oh love this soup and heathers passion for this soup fun

  3. Everything looks excellent! I have NOT seen that movie but I need to look it up. LOVE tortilla soup though, I just made some last week, thanks!

  4. great round-up! I usually clip out recipes as well as exercise tips too :)

  5. Your soup looks delicious and I love your colorful photos. I'll have to try this soon.

  6. OH my gosh, Deb...that is TOTALLY ROCKIN' TORTILLA SOUP! Seriously, now fun, I love it. Carmen would definitely dig this Nuevo Latino version ;) do I. Definitely a fun way for serving to unsuspecting guests. I've never seen TS made w/ guacamole before, I'm definitely going to have to try it. Thanks so much for sharing it w/ both my quest and Food 'n Flix this month.

    Tasty roundup, as well. I feel the need for a simple Soup, Salad, & Sammie lunch today =)

  7. Hey Deb, thank you for including my blog this idea...wishing you loads of success n' hoping to be more regular here...:)

  8. Great roundup! I promise to do better!!!

  9. I LOVE the presentation on this soup. It's so fun! I'm also giggling because it helps to know that I'm not the only one who clips articles from magazines just because it includes a fun idea:) Sometimes I just feel like a packrat. Like Heather said, love guacamole in this soup and the method of pouring the broth into the bowl when serving.

  10. Who says you can't play with your food? Your tortilla soup looks like it was fun to make. The broth sounds tasty, and with extra guacamole... Mmm!

  11. I MUST see that movie! I recently (within the past year) had my first ever Tortilla soup...and LOVE IT. This one looks like a winner.
    look at all the great stuff in this weeks round-up! even though I just finished dinner, my mouth is watering.

  12. Such a wonderful round-up! Thanks for including me! I love the way you served your soup - so cute and different!

  13. Tigerfish--no worries! ;-)

    Rebecca--thank you!

    Debbi--it is a cute movie, well worth watching. ;-)

    Kat--no if I would only use the exercise tips! lol ;-)

    Felice--thank you! It is a fun dish to make.

    girlichef--I knew you would love it too. ;-) The guacamole is good in it--adds a bit of a different texture to it.

    Miri--thank you for joining in--I do hope you come back soon. ;-)


    Kim--I figure the pile is smaller when I clip the ideas out. ;-)

    Zibi--thanks! It was fun and very flavorful too. ;-)

    Danielle--I think you will love the movie as much as you love the soup. ;-)

    Swathi--thank you! Thanks for joining in too.

    Reeni--mahalo--I always love it when you join in. ;-)

  14. I am so interested for cooking and these all recipe is one of the best kitchen recipe. Thanks for sharing it and now i go for try it.


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