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The Mansion on Turtle Creek Tortilla Soup

Servings: 4


3 tablespoons corn oil
4 corn tortillas, cut in long strips
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups fresh onion puree
4 cups fresh tomato puree
5 dried New Mexican chilies, fire roasted and seeded (See Note #1)
2 jalapeños, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon epazote, chopped (or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 large bay leaf
1-1/2 quarts chicken stock
Salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 cooked whole chicken breast, skinless, boneless, and cut into thin strips
1 large avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes
1-1/2 cups Wisconsin cheddar cheese, shredded
4 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips and fried crisp

Chicken Stock:
2 chicken carcasses
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, peeled and cut into large dice
1 carrot, peeled and cut into large dice
1 celery stalk, cut into large dice
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1 small bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 quart water to cover

Cooking Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add tortillas and garlic and sauté until tortillas are crisp and garlic is golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion puree and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until reduced by half. Add tomato puree, roasted chilies, jalapeños, cumin, coriander, epazote, bay leaf, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for approximately 40 minutes. Skim fat from surface, if necessary. Process through a food mill to attain the perfect consistency or use a blender (soup may become thick; thin out with additional chicken stock). Season to taste with salt, lemon and cayenne (optional).

Ladle soup into warm bowls. Garnish each bowl with an equal portion of chicken breast, avocado, shredded cheese, and crisp tortilla strips. Serve immediately.

Note #1 - Using a pair of kitchen tongs, hold each chili directly over open flame. Lightly roast each chili on all sides for about 30 to 45 seconds. (Be careful not to blacken or burn chilies.) When chilies are cool, remove seeds and stem. This same process can be done in a heated 400°F oven. Cook chilies for about 2 to 3 minutes.

For chicken stock: Have butcher cut carcasses into small pieces or use a cleaver to do so at home. Keep refrigerated until used.

Bring a large sauce pot to medium heat and add oil. Add onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are transparent. Add chicken carcasses, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, and water to cover.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 1 hour, skimming surface as necessary. Remove pan from heat. Place a strainer in an empty container to hold a large amount of liquid. Pour mixture into strainer and strain. Skim off any surface fat.

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