by / Sunday, May 22, 2011

Creamy Tortilla Soup w/ Chicken & Corn

With less than two weeks to go in my year-long quest to try as many versions of Tortilla Soup as possible...with the help of my friends...I want to share this creamy version that has an unexpected heat that seems to lie beneath the bright, creamy pool that fills each spoonful.   I was intrigued by a tortilla soup recipe that Carol linked up the the quest, and decided I needed to try it as soon as humanly possible.  It was a creamy version...and I had yet to try a TS labeled "creamy".  I was completely intrigued by the use of turmeric in the recipe...but also saw some things I wanted to add or change up a bit.  Since there were no chiles in the original recipe, I knew that I would need to add some heat.  My last version, while awesome, was completely mild.  I can't forsake the heat for too long in this house or I'll get hecklers shouting from the peanut gallery.  I wound up loving this version.  It was right up there with the best of them.
Creamy Tortilla Soup w/ Chicken and Corn
slow, creeping heat with sweet bursts of corn and tender chunks of chicken
inspired by & adapted from There's Always Thyme to Cook  
yield: 4-6 svgs.

olive oil
2 smallish onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
2 Aji Amarillo chiles, seeded & stemmed
4 corn tortillas, ripped into smallish pieces
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. turmeric
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 qt. chicken broth or stock
2 c. cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 c. (fresh or frozen) corn kernels
½ c. heavy cream
½ c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

crema or sour cream
corn tortillas, cut into strips and fried
lime wedges
Monterey Jack (or Pepper Jack) cheese, shredded
Heat a large glug of olive oil in a medium Dutch oven (or deep, heavy pot) over medium heat; sauté onions and garlic for ~3 minutes, or until softened and just beginning to color. Add tortillas, chiles, and spices and sauté for another few minutes, stirring constantly, until you get a warm hit of spices and earthy corn wafting up to assault your senses. Pour in tomatoes w/ their juices and the chicken broth/stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let bubble gently for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.  Purée in batches in a blender until smooth.  Set a strainer over the same soup pot and pour the mixture through it, pressing to get all the liquid through and leaving any seeds or skins behind.  (You could also use an immersion blender at this point...but then it's kind of annoying to strain it into another pot or bowl and then pour back in...so maybe you won't want to strain it.  I just figure if I'm going for a cream soup, I strain it because I don't want any "bumps" in my creamy sensation.)

Add chicken and corn and bring back to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer for ~5 minutes or until it has thickened up a bit.  Turn off heat and stir in cream and cheese. Season to taste with salt.
Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with tortilla strips, crema, and extra cheese (if you like), serving lime wedges alongside for individual squeezing.
Tortilla Soup Challenge

***I hope you'll still join me in my quest to try as many versions of Tortilla Soup as I possibly can!  You are welcome to link up previous Tortilla Soup posts, as well as any posted until the end of May.  Simply click HERE and help me finish up this quest with a BANG!***

I am also sharing this post with:
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Heather is a Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.

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