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Easy Tortilla Soup for Cold Winter Days

tortilla soupSpicy, smoky and filling, tortilla soup is the perfect dish for a cold winter night. Especially a rainy or sleety one. This is a dish that we don’t make that often, but every time we do, we love it. It’s pretty simple to make, and it’s delicious. The recipe makes a lot, so there are plenty of leftovers, too.

This soup has a tomato and chicken stock base, so it’s a great way to get that tomato flavor in the winter. We’ve also made this with pork stock before and it was fantastic. Pork stock can be tough to come by, but if there’s an Asian market in your area, they may have it there, and it’s a variation worth trying.

One final note: the jalapenos make it pretty spicy. It’s not overwhelming, but if you have a low tolerance for spiciness, you can substitute some of the jalapenos for something milder, like serrano peppers. This dish is also great with chicken, so feel free to add cooked, shredded chicken. If you are a vegetarian, sub out vegetable broth for the chicken or pork broth.

Tortilla Soup
serves 4 as a meal, 6 as a side

1 1/2 cups neutral oil
6 whole corn tortillas
2 corn tortillas cut into 1″ strips
3 – 4 jalapeno peppers
1 red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic
28 oz. canned whole tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1 – 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 avocados, sliced thin
shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Either over open flame, or in a dry skillet, roast the jalapenos and bell pepper until they are blackened on all sides. This will take 20 minutes or so. Seal the roasted peppers into a small paper bag to steam and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook each of the whole tortillas until each side is crisp and golden. Then cook the strips until they crisp up. Remove the fried tortillas to a stack of paper towels.

Meanwhile, remove the peppers from the bag, and rinse off the blackened skin. Remove the seeds and stem, and dice the peppers. Crush and mince the garlic.

In a large, non-reactive stock pot or dutch oven, pour in the canned tomatoes, crushing each tomato with your hand. Then add the stock, peppers, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer, and crumble in the whole tortillas. Simmer for 20 minutes. Carefully puree the soup, leaving a bit of texture. Return to the stock pot, heat and serve.

Garnish with a sprinkle of Monterrey Jack cheese, avocado slices and tortilla strips.

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