Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Sopa di Tortilla

Lost for inspiration on the Mexican food front a couple of weeks ago, I trawled the internet for ideas. I kept coming across references to Sopa de Tortilla, or Tortilla Soup. Intriguing, until I realised that the 'tortilla' part is a garnish of crisply fried tortillas. Irresistible...

This, then, is my interpretation of the dish. I've tried to stick to the Mexican ideal, but I make no promises as to its authenticity. I used cooked chicken left over from our Sunday roast, plus stock that I made from the carcass yesterday. I got the canned black beans, chile powder and tortillas as part of my shopping trip to Mexgrocer last week.

Chicken Soup with Tortilla

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.2 litres chicken stock
75g white rice, uncooked
300g cooked chicken, shredded

560g can black beans, drained
340g can sweetcorn, drained
1 tsp ground de arbol chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
corn tortillas (I used 5)
oil for frying
grated cheddar

Heat some oil in a large pan. Fry the onion and garlic until just soft. Pour in the chicken stock and tip in the rice. Bring to the boil, then add the shredded cooked chicken breasts along with the beans and sweetcorn. Stir in the chile powder, cumin and oregano. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the soup simmers, cut the tortillas into thinnish strips. Heat a couple of centimetres' depth of oil in a deep, wide pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the tortilla strips, in batches, until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle of cheese on the top of each portion. Top with a handful of the tortilla strips. This was a really hearty meal, much enjoyed by all of us. I think it could do very well with vegetable broth and more beans and corn as a veggie alternative, if you like. It had a nice little twang of chile, but if you like your food spicier (than I dare to cook it with two little ones to feed), add up to another teaspoon of chile powder. It also occurs to me that for speed (and fewer pots to wash), you could top each bowful with some ready-made tortilla chips.

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