Thursday, February 01, 2007

Recipe: Tortilla Soup

Time: 1 hour

2 fresh chilies, preferably pasilla
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, each cut in half
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch dried oregano
4 cups any stock or water
1 to 2 cups tortilla chips
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, optional
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced, optional
1 or 2 radishes, thinly sliced, optional
1 lime, juiced, plus one cut into wedges.

1. Heat broiler. Arrange chilies and tomatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place a few inches away from broiling element. Cook until charred on one side, then flip them with tongs and char other side, about 5 to 8 minutes total. When cool, skin, stem and seed chilies, then chop them.

2. Put oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; a minute later add garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and softened, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and chilies, crushing tomatoes with back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of oregano; add stock or water and adjust heat so mixture simmers gently. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, crushing tomatoes from time to time. (You can prepare soup up to this point in advance. Let it sit for a few hours, or cover and refrigerate for up to a day before reheating and finishing.)

3. Stir in tortilla chips and simmer another three to five minutes. Season to taste with lime juice, salt and pepper, then garnish if desired and serve with lime wedges.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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