I freaking love tortilla soup. I love its warmth, its spiciness, how filling it is, and I love that it’s a soup the rest of my family will eat. I’m the soup person in my family, and finding one that we all like can be a challenge. This is a go-to. Note: this is a weekend recipe, not a weeknight recipe. It takes 60-90 minutes to make, so unless you have extra time, don’t try to squeeze it in after work.
8 6″ corn tortillas, cut into 0.5″ wide strips
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or 4 bone-in, skin-on thighs)
8c chicken broth (you can used canned, but homemade is yummier)
1 large white onion, root end trimmed, and quartered
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
8-10 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 sprig fresh oregano
2 medium tomatoes, cored, quartered
0.5 medium jalapeño
1 chipotle chile in adobo + 1t sauce
1T veg oil
1 lime, cut in wedges
1 avocado, diced fine
8 oz cotija (crumbled) or monterey jack (cubed)
- Heat oven to 425F. Spread tortilla strips on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt. Cook for 7 minutes, flip strips over, cook for another 7 minutes.
- While tortilla strips bake, bring chicken, broth, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro, oregano, and 0.5t salt to boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate (or cutting board), and strain broth into bowl. Discard solids in strainer.
- While broth is simmering, puree tomatoes, remaining onion and garlic cloves, jalapeño, chipotle, and adobo sauce in food processor until smooth. Once broth is strained, use soup pan to heat veg oil over high heat until shimmering. Add puree and cook (still over high heat), stirring nearly constantly, until mixture has darkened in color and most of water has evaporated – about 10 minutes. Stir strained broth back into tomato mixture. Bring to boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Cut chicken meat into 0.25″ cubes. Add to broth, then simmer for about 5 minutes. To serve, place portion of tortilla strips in bowl, ladle soup into bowls, pass garnishes separately.
What’s it about?
The Snow Child is an expanded retelling of a Russian fairytale about a childless older couple who builds a snow girl one wintery night. The snow girl comes to life, but then gets too warm in the spring and she melts. In this version, the older couple is homesteading in Alaska in the 1920s; they are estranged because they’re both bottling up their feelings about the fact that the only child they were ever able to conceive was stillborn. But once their snow girl, Faina, comes to life, they open up as well, with each other and their neighbors. Faina stays several years, disappearing in the summers. She grows up, and you start to think that maybe she’s not magical, maybe she’s just a girl (and then a young woman). Maybe.
Why should you read it?
Look, I almost put The Snow Child down in the first thirty or so pages, the language and symbolism was all about winter == old == death and depression. It was effective and I almost couldn’t take it. But get through that, and you’ll be rewarded with a tale about a family who learns to share their emotions and how to be friendly. They become fuller people through love, which sounds schlocky and sentimental but it’s done delicately and gracefully. The balance with winter white and sparseness and elegance is done well. Overall, a very good book.
Sweet potato chipotle soup is delicious, but not very filling. Or filling at all. This would be a great side dish with a roast chicken or something else with a lot of protein. It might make a good soup course at Thanksgiving dinner, if your Thanksgiving meal works in courses. But this is not a main course.
Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Chipotle and Coriander
from It’s All Good (which is a better cookbook than it has any right to be)
2T olive oil
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 sprigs cilantro, leaves reserved for garnish (I clearly skipped the garnish step)
1 1/2t chipotle in adobo (I was generous here – I really like that smoky taste)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
6c vegetable stock
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and a healthy pinch of salt and cook, stirring now and then until softened but not brown, about 10 min. Add the chipotle and sweet potatoes and stir to combine. Add the vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Once soup boils, lower heat, simmer for 30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are very soft. Discard the cilantro. Carefully puree the soup. If you want a very smooth texture, pass it through a strainer. Garnish each bowl with a few cilantro leaves.