Jan 14, 2015

Tortilla Soup

Corn Tortillas
Tortillas are one of the great foods that crossed our southern border. Available in local grocery stores as corn or flour tortilla, the latter being the favorite around here. Making sure there are tortillas on hand for a variety of recipes, they can be frozen ready for the next feast. However, when trying to pry frozen tortilla from each other it is easy to tear the tortilla. To prevent that, put a square piece of parchment paper between each tortilla before freezing, like you would for frozen prepared raw burgers. The parchment paper squares can be reused.
Most folks use tortilla for wraps, which is the traditional way. Mexicans use tortilla for wrapping leftovers for their lunchbox to take to work the next day, like many use sandwiches. The non-traditional tortilla meal here is using tortilla as a wrap around BBQ or roasted sausages, the shredded cheese [Mexican blend or Monterey Jack or Cheddar] is prinkled on tortilla/sausage and wrapped with sausage (or hot dog) and melted in microwave. Great for quick snack or lunch.

While there are great store-bought tortilla to be had, Mission brand being one of them, you can take the time and make your own tortilla and decide which you would prefer. This recipe calls for a CrockPot, which is well-used in this household. Of course, although I like onions, they do not like me, so I leave out the onions or replace chopped onions with onion salt for flavoring. Along with the following Tortilla Soup recipe for a cold winter's evening, here is how to make tortilla from scratch that makes 8 servings ...
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in water and oil. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10-12 times, adding a little flour or water when needed ensuring the dough is smooth. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into eight portions. on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7-inch circle.
  3. In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook tortillas over medium heat for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned. Keep warm until ready to use.
TORTILLA Crockpot SOUP [serves 8]
1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
1 [15 oz] can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 [10 oz] can enchilada sauce 
1 can kidney beans 
1 green pepper, seeded, and chopped 
1 medium onion, chopped
1 [4 0z] can chopped green chile peppers [Sport Peppers are my favorite]
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 [14.5 oz] can chicken broth or chicken stock
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 [10 oz] package frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
7 corn or flour tortillas [Note: tortilla strips can be replaced with Dorito chips or something similar]
olive oil
1 lime, cut into wedges for 8 servings, if desired
2 or 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack or mild cheddar cheese for garnish
Sour Cream for garnish, if desired
  1. Put chicken, tomatoes, beans, enchilada sauce, green pepper, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker like CrockPot. Pour in water and chicken broth/stock and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours. The high setting is good for this recipe, but when cooking recipes like stew with beef or pork, I set it on low setting, which brings out the best in flavor and super tender meat chunks.
  2. Preheat oven to 400° F [200° C for European folks].
  3. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips and spread onto a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, ladle soup into serving bowls and sprinkle tortilla strips. Serve with a lime wedge, if desired. Garnish with shredded cheese. Optional: Serve with a tablespoon or two of sour cream on top of shredded cheese, as shown in photo.

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