Mid-August is hardly the time most people think about making a hot soup. The weather is already hot and soupy here in the Northeast. More typical fare would be salads, cold soups, or even something on the grill. I keep running across recipes for tortilla soup, which is probably because I am several months behind in some of the food magazines I read. As I looked at the pictures, I saw corn, avocado and tomatoes. Something said summer to me, so I decided to make tortilla soup for dinner. It turned out to be a "Top Five" dinner, according to my daughter Emily. Along with the corn, avocado, and tomato, the cilantro and lime give it a little bit of that summer feeling, although this soup will certainly become a regular in my house year round.
2 small boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I poached them in some water with a bay leaf and some spices, but grilled will do, or some shredded rotisserie chicken)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 tbsp. flour
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
64 ounces low sodium chicken stock
3 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 can of diced tomatoes
1-2 cups of water
juice of 1 lime
zest of half a lime
1 can small white beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears corn removed from the cob (frozen corn can be used when it is not corn season)
1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 avocado, cubed
1/3 cup green onion, for garnish
8 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips
In the bottom of a soup pot, saute the onion, carrots, garlic, and celery in the olive oil for about 4-6 minutes. Add the flour, and whisk until the flour is cooked and golden brown, creating a roux. Add cumin, paprika and black pepper, and whisk through. Add the chicken stock, bring to medium heat, then add tomatoes, beans, lime zest and juice, and cilantro, and lower heat to simmer. Add cooked chicken. I added the corn about 5 minutes before serving, and I really liked the 'al dente' quality. Taste the soup, and add water if needed.
About 15 minutes before serving, take the tortilla strips, place them on a wire rack set on a cookie sheet, and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle a little salt and paprika on the strips, and place in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until crispy and golden.
Serve soup in a large bowl, garnished with cilantro, green onion, avocado, and several tortilla strips.