my version of a tortilla soup

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Definitely not a traditional tortilla soup - this is just how I like to make it. If you like a rich spicy base that can be used for meat, fish, poultry or vegetarian soups, then give this a try.

Servings:
many
Preparation Time:
1 hour

Tools

  • 4 to 6 qt. soup pot w/ lid
  • mortar & pestle (or blender or food processor)
  • knife & cutting board
  • wooden spoon

Ingredients
Whole Spices

  • 3 guajillo chiles (remove stem & seeds)
  • 1 ancho chile (remove stem & seeds)
  • 1 arbol chile (remove stem & seeds)
  • 1 chipotle chile (remove stem & seeds)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. corriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2" cinnamon stick

Ground Spices

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. dry oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp. hot praprika
  • 1 tsp. medium chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne powder

Aromatics

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lg. onion (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 2 celery ribs (chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 serrano chiles (remove stems & seeds, minced)
  • 1 Anaheim chile (remove stems & seeds, chopped)
  • 4 roma tomatoes (or 16oz. can, chopped)

Soup

  • 2 qt. liquid (water, broth and/or stock)
  • 2-3 cups cooked protein (beans, chicken, fish, goat, lamb, pork)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Salt to taste.

Garnish

  • broken tortilla chips or rice
  • chopped scallions
  • lemon juice

Cooking Instructions

  • Place the soup pot over medium-low heat then collect and prepare all of the tools and ingredients.
  • Break or cut up the chiles and place them into the dry pot. Stir occasionally until you can start to smell the chiles.
  • Add the whole seeds to the chiles. Stir occasionally until you can smell these spices.
  • Add the bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon. Stir occasionally until you can smell these spices.
  • Turn off the heat and add the ground spices. Stir constantly (gently) until the ground spices start to change colour.
  • Grind the spices in the mortar and pestle. (Use pulses in a food processor and toss in a tomato and some water if you use a blender.)
  • Place the empty pot over medium heat for a few minutes then add the olive oil until it just starts to shimmer.
  • Stir in the chopped onion until it just starts to turn translucent then stir in the carrots and celery until they just start to soften.
  • Stir in the garlic until it you can smell the garlic then add the chopped fresh chiles and stir for a few more minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and all the spices until it starts to boil then reduce heat to low and cover. Stir every couple of minutes for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the liquid, turn up to medium-high and wait for it to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the protein, corn and peas and cook partially covered for about 15 minutes. Salt to taste.

Notes
Serve very hot over broken tortilla chips or rice. Stir in lemon juice and top with chopped scallions. My wife likes to use chopped cilantro.