Tortilla Soup Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

When trying to figure out what to make for dinner last night, my wife suggested Mexican, and I had a taste for soup, so we met in the middle of the road.

Tortilla Soup is an uncomplicated soup that is just bursting with flavor! I puree my Tortilla Soup then garnish with the texture (as well as flavor and color) components. You’ll want to make homemade Tortilla Chips for this, no Tostitos please! Besides, once you make your own Tortilla Chips and find out how much better they are, you’ll never buy them again! We’ll start with the Chips:

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Oil or Lard
Corn Tortillas
Kosher Salt
A Baking Sheet covered with a double layer of Paper Towel

Heat the fat to 360 degrees F in a 2 quart saucepan. Cut the amount of Tortillas desired into quarters. If just making them for this recipe I used Chips from 4 Corn Tortillas (plus some strips for garnish). When the oil is to temperature, drop in about 5 or 6 pieces at a time, frying until just about golden brown. A good way to gauge if they’re done is when the heavy bubbling in the oil subsides; they won’t take long. Remove them to the baking sheet to drain with a slotted metal utensil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat until you have your desired amount of chips.

**Note – Whenever I fry Tortilla Chips I always make some strips to use for a garnish. Simply Cut about 3-4 Tortillas into thin 1/8 – 1/4″ thin strips, then fry as for the Chips, though they won’t take as long.

Tortilla Soup Recipe

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil or Lard
1 Cup Chopped Spanish Onion
1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
2 Tbsp Chopped Jalapeno
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Tomato
16 Corn Tortilla Chips (as described above)
1 Bay Leaf
1 dried Guajillo chile
1 dried Ancho chile
4 Cups Rich Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Oregano
1 Cup Raw Chicken cut into bite sized pieces, I use thighs
(Toss the Chicken with 1 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro and the Juice of 1/2 Lime)
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Garnish:

Tortilla Strips
1/2 Large Avocado or one whole small (Diced just before serving)
3 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
4 Tbsp Finely Diced Fresh Tomato
A Lime Wedge

Heat the oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large saucepan. Add the Onion and saute until wilted. Add the Garlic and Jalapeno and cook for 1 minute, add the tomato and cook for 1 minute more. Crush the Tortilla Chips over the mixture and stir in, cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the Bay Leaf, chiles, Chicken Stock and Fresh Oregano; Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the Bay Leaf and chiles and Puree with an immersion Blender or in a regular (heat proof) blender, taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper to taste. Return the soup to low heat and add the Chicken, the soup is finished when the Chicken is cooked through.

To Serve:

I serve this soup in a wide shallow Soup Bowl garnished with the Tomato, Avocado and Cilantro. Stand up a large Pile of Tortilla Strips in the middle of the bowl, and spritz each serving with Fresh Lime Juice. Ice cold cerveza Sol with a lime wedge stuffed into the bottle is a perfect accompaniment.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun recipes!

King Cake Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

It’s Twelfth Night tonight, January 6th, the traditional start of the Carnival season, and that means King Cake parties in Louisiana. Whoever gets the baby trinket in their piece of King Cake either hosts the next King Cake party, or chokes to death because their host didn’t warn them that it was within the cake, so please do so. I will update this post tomorrow with more on the historical meaning of the cake and so forth, but for now, lets just have some cake.

The recipe:

King Cake Recipe

For the Brioche:

1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast
2 Tbsp Warm Water (115 degree F)
1 tsp Iodized Salt
2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Milk
2 tsp Orange Zest, minced
2 Cups All Purpose Flour, sifted
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Eggs, beaten
1 1/4 sticks cold Unslated Butter, cut into very small dice
1 Egg beaten and 2 Tbsp water, for the eggwash
1 plastic baby trinket

Dissolve the yeast in the workbowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, let stand until frothy.
Dissolve the salt, sugar, orange zest and milk in a small bowl. When dissolved combine the milk mixture with the yeast mixture. Mix the cinnamon with the flour.
With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, then gradually add the flour, until all is incorporated. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough is formed. A little more flour may be necessary. With the motor running, incorporate the butter into the dough, a little at a time but rather quickly so that it doesn’t heat up and melt.
Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot.
When the dough has doubled in bulk punch it down, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll the dough out to a 6 x 18 inch rectangle. Spead the Pecan filling (recipe below) out in the middle of the rectangle along the whole length, leaving about 1 1/2 inch on each side. Place the baby trinket somewhere with the filling. Fold the length of the dough over the filling and roll up tightly, leaving the seam side down. Turn the roll into a circle, seam side down and put one end inside of the other to hide the seam, and seal the circle. Place the cake on a baking sheet and let rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Brush all over with the egg wash, then place the king cake into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

When the cake cools, brush with some of the glaze (recipe below) thinned out with more cold water. This will help the sugars adhere. Decorate the cake with the colored sugars and drizzle some of the thicker glaze onto the cake.

Place on a large round serving plate and decorate with Mardi Gras beads, doubloons and whatever else that you like.

For the Pecan filling:

1 Cup Pecan halves, broken up slightly and roasted until fragrant
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1 pinch of salt
4 Tbsp Steen’s Cane Syrup

Combine all of the ingredients together.

For the glaze

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp Bourbon
Water (enough to make a paste that can be drizzled)

Combine the sugar and bourbon, whisk in enough water to make a glaze that can be drizzled.

My friend Jason of Off The Broiler also brought this Latin-American version of King Cake to my attention courtesy of Daisy Martinez. It’ s Marzipan filled and looks absolutely gorgeous.