Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Classic Tortilla Soup (Mexican Tomato Soup)

I was first introduced to this delicious soup while working as a waitress at the Nav Jiwan Tea Room at Ten Thousand Villages in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Each week, the tea room would feature a different ethnic cuisine. All of the food was made fresh and prepared from scratch...AMAZING! I  still crave it...their curry, the hummus & guac, Mexican chocolate cake, and the orange mint and chai tea...YUM! But, I have to admit, their Mexican Tortilla Soup was my absolute favorite! Unfortunately, the tea room has closed, but they still have an awesome cafe! You should check it out :)

The profile picture of me at the right of my blog, was taken in Mexico while Nick and I were on our honeymoon...I was eating Mexican tortilla soup!

Because the Nav Jiwan Tea Room's recipe should remain a best kept secret :), I combined their recipe with Marcela Valladolid's recipe from the Food Network. Makes approximately 6 servings.

Ingredients - Soup
4 large tomatoes
1 white onion, cut into chunks
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4-1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients - Tortilla Strips
6 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2- inch wide strips
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
Sour cream, for serving
2 avocados, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes or slices
Queso fresco or mild feta cheese, crumbled

Directions - Soup
Put the onion chunks, tomatoes and garlic cloves in a baking dish and roast in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the tomato skins are beginning to look black and charred.

Skin the tomatoes and puree with the onion and garlic in a blender or a food processor. Pour into a large saucepan with 1 Tbsp. oil and saute for a few minutes until the mixture is thick and reduced. Add the vegetable stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Directions - Tortilla Strips
In a medium, heavy skillet, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 1/2 an inch. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into 6 individual serving bowls. Serve sour cream, avocados, cheese, and tortilla strips.

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