Since I don’t have to work today, I picked a dinner last night that I wouldn’t ordinarily have time to make. I’ve never had tortilla soup, even at a restaurant, but it involved many things I love – namely, deeply caramelized onions and the opportunity to use my immersion blender. I knew when I made it that it would be a big time commitment, but it was definitely worth it. The toppings were 100% the best part – how could you go wrong with a soup that is topped with sour cream, cotija cheese, green onions, and “frizzled” tortilla strips? I used this recipe, and followed it with only a few modifications.
3 tablespoons butter
4 onions, peeled, cut in half vertically, and sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 dried Japanese chilies
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
1/4 cup sherry
3 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
3 cups vegetable stock
Two 14.5-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup canola oil
three corn tortillas, cut into narrow strips
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
4 sliced green onions
1 sliced avocado
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup sour cream
6-8 lime wedges
First, slice the onions to prepare them for caramelization. If you’re like me, you’ll need to wear a ski mask to avoid crying for the next twenty minutes. Then, sweat the onions and caramelize them until they turn a deep brown. I used a wok, since it could distribute the heat better. It took me almost an hour to get them to the correct color.
While you’re cooking the onions, toast the dried chilies by toasting them in a small saute pan. Remove them from the heat, and carefully de-seed them. Rehydrate them by covering them with boiling water.
When the onions are finally the correct color, add the garlic and the sherry and stir for about two more minutes. Then, add the chilies, the tortillas, cumin, and bay leaf. Stir for a few more minutes, then add the veggie stock, tomatoes, and the water from the rehydrated chiles. Cover the soup, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
When the soup is smelling absolutely delicious and the tortillas are nice and soft, season with salt and pepper, squeal with glee, and take our your immersion blender. Blend the soup until it’s silky smooth. Now, it’s time for the toppings! Carefully fry the tortilla strips, and prepare all the rest of the acoutrements.