Classic Tortilla Soup
- 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 4 large plum tomatoes
- 1 small white onion, or a 1-inch-thick slice of a large white onion, peeled
- 1 medium dried New Mexico chile, stemmed, seeded and torn into large pieces
- 2 corn tortillas, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 6 cups chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Tortilla Strips:
- Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
- 6 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
- Mexican sour cream or regular sour cream
- 2 avocados, peeled and diced into 1/2- inch cubes or slices
- Queso fresco or mild feta, crumbled
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
For the soup: Heat a heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic, tomatoes, onion and New Mexico chile in the pan. Using tongs, turn the vegetables occasionally during cooking to ensure charring on all sides. Remove the vegetables once slightly blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the peel from the garlic. Add the charred vegetables to the blender with the tortilla pieces and 2 cups chicken broth. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large saucepan and add the remaining 4 cups chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
For the tortilla strips: In a medium, heavy skillet, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 1/2 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.
From Food Network Kitchens; after further testing and to ensure the best results this recipe has been altered from what was in the actual episode.
Blending Hot Liquids: When blending hot liquids, remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid; that prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times, then process on high speed until smooth.
The blended corn tortillas act as thickeners. This soup should not be as thick as a cream soup, but should have some body.