Mexican Tortilla Soup
Created by White Lotus Chef Beatrix Rohlsen
Nothing warms you up like chilies or a bowl of steaming hot soup in the wintertime. This soup recipe calls for either Ancho or Pasilla chilies which bring about a warm glow and hit a medium high heat on the Scoville chili index; the scale for measuring capsaicin, the active component that constitutes a chili’s heat.
Very few White Lotus guests can resist the simmering aroma and lure of a bowl of Beatrix’s Mexican Tortilla soup. Served with avocado, crispy tortilla strips and a dollop of tofu or dairy sour cream, this recipe can serve several, or you can sit down and feast with a friend and save left-overs (even better) for a serious second round of indulgence.
1-3 dried Ancho or Pasilla chilies
1 onion (chopped medium)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 celery stalks (thinly chopped)
1 bunch scallions (thinly chopped)
1 can (15oz) crushed tomatoes
1/2 can (15 oz) corn kernels
2-5 cloves garlic (minced)
4-5 cups soup stock
Water from the soaked chilies
1/2 bunch cilantro (chopped medium fine)
Salt (to taste)
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small to medium avocado (sliced into strips or small chunks)
6-8 teaspoons tofu sour cream or dairy sour cream
2-4 corn tortillas
1/2 lime (optional)
Rinse chilies under cold water. Place them in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Soak ½ hr. When soft, drain and reserve the water for the soup. Take out the membrane and the seeds using gloves so that you do not get chili oil, which has a strong heat, on your hands. These chilies have a fairly high rad rating (chili heat index) so you don’t want to over do it by using too many in the soup. Cut the chilies into small pieces and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a medium sized soup pot. Sauté chopped onions, celery, scallions and garlic for 5-10 minutes. Add 3 cups soup stock and the can of crushed tomatoes. Let simmer; do not boil. Add 1 -2 cups water from the soaked chilies, less if you do not want your soup have a lot of heat. Use additional soup stock if needed. Add chilies and corn. Season with salt. For a more spicy heat, add some red pepper flakes. Turn soup off and cover. If you like, squeeze some lime juice into the soup.
Cut corn tortillas in half and then cut thin strips starting along the shorter side. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Let the tortilla strips cool while on the baking sheet so that they get crunchy, and then transfer to a bowl and set aside. Cut avocado into small chunks or strips and set aside.
When ready to serve, if necessary, re-warm soup for a moment but do not boil. Just before serving add finely chopped cilantro.
Serve each portion with tortilla strips, avocado and sour cream on top. Ole!