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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tomatillo Salsa Soup

I once saw Rick Bayless on t.v. making soup for a party. I missed the beginning but it looked like he put in three jars of tomatillo salsa and some chicken broth. Then he dumped a whole bag of tortilla chips (Huh? What is going on here?) into the pot and covered it. He mentioned adding cheese and condiments later and moved on to preparing his main course.

At about 6:00 p.m. last night, I was getting desperate for dinner ideas. A quick search for tortilla soup revealed that most recipes suggest topping the soup with crushed tortilla chips to ensure that the chips do not get soggy. This seemed opposite to Bayless' method. I decided to trust Bayless. Afterall, he is the expert on authentic Mexican cooking not to mention a restaurant owner and cookbook author. The result? The cornmeal chips thickened the soup without any cream! In fairness to Bayless, he probably started by browning onions, garlic, fancy chili powder from Mexico, but now it was 6:15 p.m.(!) so I made some shortcuts. Besides, I have one kid who hates onions and another who can't handle anything spicy so I figured a jar of mild green salsa would have to do.

Here's my quick version for a family of four using pantry items and about a quarter of a Costco rotisserie chicken:

1 jar of tomatillo salsa
3 cans of low-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 cans of water
1 can of corn (or hominy) drained
1/2 bag of tortilla chips
shredded chicken

diced red onion
chopped cilantro
shredded cheese or Daiya rice cheese
jarred jalapeno slices

Bring salsa, chicken broth, and water to a boil in a dutch oven or similar-sized pot. Add tortilla chips and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Give soup a stir to make sure it's not thickening too fast and sticking to the bottom of your pot. You may need to add more water or broth if it gets too thick for your taste. Simmer 5 more minutes. Add corn and chicken. Serve with condiments.

"Please sir, I want some more."

So easy, right? I don't think this even counts as cooking. Let's call it expanding.

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