Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tortilla Soup Challenge RoundUp #1

Well, it's been about a month and a half now since I sent out a call for help.  And my cry was answered!!  I've set out on a year-long quest to find the best Tortilla Soup out there!  Subjective?  Perhaps.  Fun?  Of course.  Tasty?  Always!  Every month or so, I'm gonna round up the Tortilla Soups that have been tested so far...and this is numero uno!  After seeing a month and a half of Tortilla Soup, I'm thinking that TS has 2 major factors....1-the broth/liquid & 2-the goodies/add-ins.  Finding the best one is going to mean finding the best combination of both!
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Shall we begin with the TS that could knock the worst hangover back to hell?  Why not...one of the leaders on my board, it was a quick and simple soup bound to make you sweat.  I featured it on my initial challenge post...and I often think back on it...and almost want to drink too much just to have an excuse to make a batch.



The soup that started me wondering if I really should start expanding my Tortilla Soup horizons was one by Mark Bittman...I liked it, though not as much as the one I'd made every time up until that point...but it made me ponder the possibilities!

My third and final endeavor up to this point was one featured at Eva Longoria's restaurant, Beso.  It ranked in the upper eschelons...and made me realize this quest might actually make it harder to decide if my "go-to" recipe could be beaten.

But enough about me...let's take a look at the people who have joined me so far...

First up is one from Amy at Kitchen Centsability.  Amy still talks about a Tortilla Soup she had back in '93 on a trip to Dallas to see Notre Dame play in the Sugar Bowl.  She made a soup based on a Martha Stewart recipe that she said was "An ideal combination of smokey chili, rich chicken broth and just the right about of kick."  Sounds just right to me!

Over at Crystal's Cozy Kitchen, Crystal re-visited a Tortilla Soup that was a slightly tweaked version of my "The Bomb" favorite Tortilla Soup EVER by Rick Bayless.  She "adapted this Tortilla soup from Rick Bayless' cookbook "Mexico One Plate at a Time." The original recipe was good, but by adding the fried chilies to the blender, it really makes a HUGE difference. The other difference is that I cook the chicken in some of the soup. It really helps to meld the flavors."  I say don't mess with perfection...but I know, I know...everybody's tastes are different. ;-)



Next up is Danielle from Cooking for My Peace of Mind.  Dani cooked up a Guy Fieri recipe that was already sitting on my "to-try" list of Tortilla Soups.  This recipe included the secret ingredient...Tequila! So, like the true fellow lush that she is, Dani turned the Tortilla Soup post into a drinking game. That's my girl....salud!  Oh, and did I mention this was her first time trying Tortilla Soup? Hopefully it won't be her last...most of the year still remains! I'm trying this one soon.

Now we have my friend Deb from Kahakai Kitchen.  Deb and I both cooked up Mark Bittman TS  the same week (for an IHCC challenge because great minds think alike)...but each chose different recipes!  Deb says "Mmm...delicious! Complete comfort food, wonderful thick texture and great flavor."  I think I like this version better than the one I tried...add it to the list!

My fellow Rick Bayless groupie, Lee Ann from Mangos, chili and Z has eaten plenty of the good stuff (we're talking Tortilla Soup here, people) and knew she was up for my challenge!  She assures us that there is "a big bowl of wonderfully seasoned brothy goodness underneath all those hearty chunky toppings…and lots of it."  I believe it and wish I was there to take a big bite for myself.  Lee Ann added her own twists into this soup, including Bitter Orange-flavored Adobo Seasoning...makes my mouth water just remembering it!

Don't ya just love it when you can throw together a successful pantry meal!?  Well, that's exactly what Spryte of Spryte's Place did when she realized she didn't have all the fixin's for her usual Tortilla Soup.  Combining a jar of salsa, a can of hominy and some pintos she found beckoning her from the pantry...she added in some more seasonings, herbs and tortillas of course! to come up with this tempting Chicken Pinto Tortilla Soup. Yum!

And rounding out the questers this round-up is my pal Kim from Stirring the Pot.  Kim decided to have a little challenge of her own...a challenge within a challenge, if you will.  She found two Tortilla Soup recipes she wanted to try and had herself a Throwdown!  The first one she tried was an Ellie Krieger recipe which she found to be "a very well-balanced soup which was very well-received by everyone. The lime juice really stands out and the jalapeno gives the soup the perfect amount of heat."

Her second contender from the Eating Well website "was more of a broth-based soup with lots of diced poblano peppers, onion, a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, boneless skinless chicken thighs, cumin, and lime juice."  Which one do you think won her Throwdown?  Guess you'll just have to go visit her to find out!


Honestly, the more Tortilla Soups and recipes I try and see...the harder it is to decide.  Can there be one clear-cut favorite in the bunch?  I'm not sure yet, but I'm gonna keep working my through the mix to see if I can figure it out.  Heck, I still have 10 months to figure it out!  And that is plenty of time for you to join me on my quest...there...you've been challenged!  Whatcha gonna do about it!?  Click here to play along! Thanks so much to everybody who's joined me so far...thanks for making me drool...and thanks for mixing things up and making it harder for me to decide.  HA!