Wednesday, September 7, 2011

REAL FOOD Tortilla Soup

While the weather is a bit cooler in the South than would normally be expected at this time of the year, I am thoroughly enjoying it!!! Cooler temperatures to me means the smell of burning fireplaces, wearing my favorite sweaters, opening the windows, spectacular color change, college football and SOUP!!!!! My favorite thing to eat is soup. I have toyed for years with the idea of opening a "soup only" restaurant (with, of course, fresh bread, rolls and muffins). I've never been convinced that enough people love soup as much as I do to support such a venture.

In the past I have not always used the most healthy ingredients in all areas of my cooking, but soup has always been one of those areas (to me) that the ingredients make the difference between a soup that is good and a soup that is great. Thankfully, my soup recipes will not require a lot of modifications to make them "real". I made my first soup of the season last night and wanted to share the recipe with you. It ranks as one of my top 5 favorites. I hope you like it!

The Recipe
1-2 cups cooked, pastured chicken cut into bite-sized pieces or shredded (I used leftover roasted chicken)
1 green pepper, cleaned and quartered
1 onion, chopped
1 pint or quart grape tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth (homemade preferred)
2 cups fresh corn
1 quart homemade tomato sauce (I made mine with Heirloom tomatoes)
1 can Lime Rotel (yes, my one vice that I cannot give up)
4 TBSP pastured butter
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
Fresh Cilantro, to taste
Cumin, to taste
Sea Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Ground Red Pepper, to taste
Olive oil (for drizzling)
Organic Tortilla Chips
Shredded or Cubed Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt (raw or organic, full-fat)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Wash grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and place cut side down on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Place in oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until they are fully roasted and almost flat on the pan. When done, remove from oven and let cool in the pan. When cool to the touch, place everything in a food processor and process to a paste consistency. Set aside. This step could easily be done in advance, just refrigerate or freeze the tomato paste until you need it

Switch your oven from bake to broil. Move one of the oven racks close to the top of the oven. Place the green pepper cut side down on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the oven. It will take approximately 15 minutes to roast the green pepper. The pieces will be browned on the top and the rest of the pepper should be soft.

Meanwhile, in a stock pot or soup kettle, melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and saute (I like my onions slightly caramelized as it adds a nice flavor to the broth). Once the green pepper has been roasted, add it to the stock pot with the onions and garlic. Continue sauteing until the onions have reached the translucent stage, remove stock pot from heat.

Pour all contents of the stock pot into the bowl of a food processor. Add can of Rotel, including liquid, and fresh cilantro. Chop ingredients until it reaches a chopped salsa consistency. Pour contents back into stock pot. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken and corn. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper and cumin to taste. Heat gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for approximately 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, crunch up tortilla chips into approximately 1/2" pieces. Add to the soup, stir and cook for approximately 15 minutes more. I always do a taste test here so that I can add more spices, if needed.

To Serve
Pour into bowls, sprinkle with shredded or cubed cheddar cheese and top with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt. We like to eat ours with either tortilla chips or cornbread. Enjoy!

This post was shared at: It's a Keeper Thursday and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

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