When I worked at the TV station I usually grabbed lunch at a coffee shop with some of the other reporters. One of our favorite meals was a chicken tortilla soup. It’s taken about six years, but I think I’ve finally found a good chicken tortilla recipe that comes close to the one I enjoyed so much in Idaho.
This recipe is inspired by one from Emeril Lagasse.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 4-6 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped small
- 2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 6 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 1 lb chicken–whatever is leftover from a roast chicken the night before
- 1 Tablespoon dried cilantro
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- 6 stale corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips (fresh is fine, too)
- 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
- 1 avocado peeled, seeded, and chopped, for garnish
In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, salt, cumin, and coriander for 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatos and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and lime juice, and stir well. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Heat the oil in a heavy pot or electric fryer to 350 degrees F. Add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with the Essence.
Ladle the soup into 4 or 6 serving bowls. Garnish each serving with the diced avocado, the fried tortilla strips.
Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning
- 1 1/4 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 1/3 cup
Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.