Dark Days, soup again

Posted by Anita on 02.07.10 9:16 PM

(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*Yes, yes — soup again. I’d really hoped to have something better to share by the end of the week, but I’m still fighting the after-effects of a particularly nasty cold. Making dinner is doubly complicated: Not only do I not feel much like cooking, but I often have to trick myself into eating something I’m craving before my appetite disappears again.

Early last week, the only thing I could really get worked up about making was tortilla soup. We’re still at least a month away from local avocados at our farmers market, but I couldn’t imagine this classic soup without them. Sometimes it’s worth it, I rationalized, to make an exception for an ingredient that has no reasonable local alternative.

As luck would have it, Cameron found semi-local organic avocados at our co-op — California is better than Mexico, right? And we have plenty of local tomatoes in the pantry, so I didn’t have to venture too far off the local path to satisfy my sick-kid whims.

(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*

Sopa Azteca / Tortilla Soup
- adapted from Mexican Everyday

2 cups diced tomatoes in juice
2T ground pasilla or ancho chile
2T chicken fat (or mild vegetable oil)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts chicken broth
1 large sprig epazote (optional)
2-1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, skinned, and cubed
6oz (about 1-1/2 cups) shredded mild cheese, such as asadero, Jack, etc.
6oz (about 4 cups) broken tortilla chips
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges

Preheat the broiler. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice, and place on a parchment-lined rimmed cookie sheet. Broil the tomatoes until beginning to blacken; turn with a spatula and cook a little longer on the other side, until toasted and aromatic. Remove from oven and set aside.

Melt the chicken fat in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until softened. Add the ground chile and cook for another minute or two; be careful not to burn the chile — add water and/or adjust the heat if you smell it getting too hot. Remove the vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much of the fat as possible, and transfer to the blender. Process until smooth, adding only as much of the tomato juice as you need to get a puree going.

Return the pan with the fat to medium-high heat. When hot, add the puree and stir constantly until the puree is thickened to a paste. Puree the roasted tomatoes and the reserved tomato juice, and add them to the pot along with the broth and the epazote. Bring the soup just to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Add the chicken to the simmering broth and heat through.

Divide the avocado, cheese, and tortilla chips between four individual bowls. Serve the lime wedges separately at the table.

darkdays09-10_bugFarmers and food artisans who created the ingredients for this week’s meal:

Tierra Vegetables, Santa Rosa: chile powder and garlic
Soul Food Farm, Vacaville: chicken
Spring Hill Cheese Company, Petaluma: Jack cheese
Primavera, Sonoma: Corn tortillas (for homemade tortilla strips)
Mariquita Farm, Watsonville: limes

…and our own home-canned chicken stock and tomatoes, and homegrown epazote

Exemption: avocado (California organic)

Dark Days challenge, locavore, Mexican, recipes



Comment by Kimberly

Paul has had a bad cold this past week, and I made tortilla soup (a favorite in our house) for him. But, as you know, there are no local avocados or limes at any time of year in Seattle. The organic California stuff I was able to get was quite tasty.

Posted on 02.07.10 at 10:51PM

Comment by Livin Local

Oh, those roasted tomatoes sound marvelous!

Posted on 02.08.10 at 4:24PM

Pingback by Dark Days 09-10: Week 12 Recap (Midwest and West) « (not so) Urban Hennery

[...] thought of local avocados) Anita and Cameron at Married With Dinner made the most lovely-looking Tortilla Soup for their Dark Days [...]

Posted on 02.09.10 at 9:33PM

Comment by janelle

Duh, of course (slaps hand on forehead): roasted tomatoes! I had never broiled drained, canned tomatoes. And I LOVE the idea! What a perfect way to develop flavor. Great tip for my day!

Posted on 02.10.10 at 12:05AM

Comment by we are never full

nothin wrong w/ some soup! especially right now. i’m craving it. lovely bowl in your picture. we love tortilla soup – so easy, so warming, so nice. can i recommend using a small can of goya’s tomato sauce in the tortilla soup (http://www.goya.com/english/products/product.html?prodSubCatID=13&prodCatID=4). it is not organic but it is delicious and adds quick, great flavor if anyone is short on some things.

Posted on 02.10.10 at 6:49AM

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