Do you still have leftovers around, or did you gobble them all up this weekend in sandwiches? I definitely have to do a (few) sandwich(es), but by Saturday, I am usually ready for some new flavors. Knowing that an awesome stock is so easy, soup is often on my agenda.
After all the tastes of fall, I am quite ready for some spice.
And I love me some tortilla soup!
I make it based on my grandma’s version, with just a few tweaks.
First, I like to roast the tomatoes and tomatillos, that carmelization transfers to the soup nicely. But if you are in a hurry (or just hungry), you can skip that step.
My other variation is the addition of chipotles. I know that it is not an unusual add, but the first time I had it that way was a few years ago at La Esquina, while visiting NYC. Who knew then that it would be one of my regular spots… I need smoky and spicy often!
Oh, and I bake the tortilla strips instead of frying them. Much less mess and a bit healthier too – plus they still crunch up nicely.
The soup doesn’t take much work, just make sure to wash the tomatillos once you peel them. They can be a bit sticky, and you want to wash off any of that.
This version was made with turkey and turkey stock, but I usually make it with chicken – both work great, but I really did like the depth of the turkey stock.
One more reason to not just roast a turkey in November!
But as much as I like the soup, honestly, the toppings may be my favorite. I like to make up a little board for each person, so they can add as much as they want. It almost makes it like you are eating so many more and different things – which I like.
Plus, I think the tortilla strips need to stay crunchy, so I only add a few at a time.
My favorite fixins’ are avocados, limes, cilantro, radishes, cheese and tortilla strips. Some people like onions and sour cream too, but I top out at 6. For cheese, I vote cojita, but cheddar definitely works. But feel free to experiment – the only real requirement is to enjoy!
Turkey Tortilla Soup I keep the spices pretty mellow here, as the chipotles and adobo sauce are pretty potent, but it is great with cumin and chili pepper if you want. – This can also easily be vegetarian by using veggie stock instead of the turkey/chicken stock and omitting the shredded meat on top. – – For the soup: 8-10 plum tomatoes 10-12 tomatillos 4 T. vegetable oil, divided 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo 2 T. adobe sauce (from chipotle can) 1 large yellow onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped 4-6 c. turkey (or chicken) stock salt pepper 1 c. cooked, shredded turkey (or chicken) – Toppings (use some, all, etc.): avocado limes cilantro cheese tortilla strips (see below for recipe) radishes
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Peel and wash tomatillos. Place tomatoes and tomatillos on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil (makes clean-up easier and when you transfer them to the blender, you can get all the juices too), and drizzle with 1-2 T. oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes.
Transfer to a blender and puree, in batches if necessary. Add chipotle(s) pepper and adobo sauce. The chipotles are pretty spicy, so start small. Add only ½ of one at a time until you reach the heat you like. Do not add too many at once, as you cannot go back. I like about 1½ chipotle peppers – that makes it just under medium heat (but I know that is heat is a bit subjective). Season with salt and pepper to taste. You will have about 6 cups of puree.
(Keep oven on at 400ºF for tortilla strips; “recipe” below.)
In a medium size pot, heat the stock over med-low heat until it comes to a simmer; keep warm.
While the stock is warming, heat 2 T. oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot. Add chopped onion and cook for about 4 minutes, to sweat the onions. Just before they turn golden, add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Note: I seed the jalapeño, as it is not used for heat necessarily (chipotles cover that), but I like the subtle contrast of the fresh to the smoked versions.
Add the puree and cook it all together for about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the stock to the onion, tomato and tomatillo mixture. Depending on the consistency you prefer for the soup, you can use more or less stock. As it will be added to the puree, more stock will create a thinner soup, less will leave it a bit thick. I like it a bit thicker, so I use about 4 cups stock to the 6 cups puree.
Let soup simmer all together for about 20 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, prepare preferred toppings.
In a small sautè pan, heat 1 T. oil over medium heat. Add shredded turkey and cook until warmed through and the edges are a but crisp. Set aside.
Quarter limes, chop cilantro, dice radishes, crumble cojita cheese (if using cheddar, grate), and chop avocado. Place each topping (plus tortilla strips) in serving dishes.
Ladle soup into bowls, top with turkey and let each person dish up the toppings as they like.
Tortilla strips4+ corn tortillas (I use at least one per person, but feel free to go up here). 1 T. neutral oil salt
Preheat oven to 400ºF (likely already done from the tomatoes and tomatillos).
Cut tortillas in half, and then again in strips. Arrange on a baking sheet in an individual layer, drizzle with oil so they are all lightly coated; sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden and crispy. Check at least once during baking, as they turn from perfect to burnt pretty quickly. Not that I would know or anything!
Set aside to garnish tortilla soup.
This method also works great for tortilla chips – just triangles instead of strips. And with salsa or guac, you don’t notice they are baked and they beat the pants off the store bought version!
NOTE: If you don’t think you will want this much soup (about 10 cups), I still recommend making the full amount of the puree. Then only add the desired amount to the onion, garlic mix and lessen the amount of stock accordingly. The remaining puree can be a great start to a sauce for enchiladas, chilaquiles, etc.