Whenever Whole Foods Market has fresh sweet corn available, I like to make this Southwestern and Mexican Tortilla Soup. This is one of my favorite corn based soup which is hearty enough as a simple lunch or a light dinner soup. I usually serve it with fresh avocados, grilled corn kernels, cheddar cheese, cilantro, and topped with crispy tortillas.
Recipe adapted from Live, Love, Eat! By Wolfgang Puck (pg 30)
3 ears Fresh Corn, shucked
5 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1 Medium Yellow Onion, peeled, and quartered
1 Jalapeno Chili, trimmed and seeded
2 ½ Tbsp Corn Oil
3 Corn Tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares
2 Large Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 tsp Ground Cumin
7 to 8 Cups Chicken Broth
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 Corn Tortillas
1 Ripe Avocado
1 Large Whole Chicken Breast, cooked, boned, and skinned
½ Cup Grilled Corn Kernels (optional)
½ Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro Leaves
Using a large, sharp knife carefully cut the kernels off the corncobs. Set the kernels aside and reserve the cobs.
Put the corn kernels, garlic, onion, and jalapeno in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse the machine until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Set aside.
To make the soup: In a large pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add squares of tortilla and cook until they are slightly darkened in color and a little crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped corn mixture and sauté just until the vegetables are coated with the oil, about 1 minute. Do not let them brown.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and cumin and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very aromatic, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, heat the stock or broth. Slowly pour the stock into the vegetable mixture, add the corncobs, and simmer over low heat until the soup is reduced by one-third, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove and discard the corncobs. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth, taking care to avoid splattering. At this point, if you’d like a finer consistency, you can pass the soup through a fine strainer. Return the soup to a clean pot and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare the garnish: Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Cut the tortillas into thin strips and arrange on a small baking sheet. Bake until the strips are crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and dice avocado. Cut the chicken crosswise into thin strips.
To serve, add the chicken or grilled corn (if using) and avocado to the soup and rewarm over low heat. Ladle the soup into 6 to 8 warmed soup bowls and garnish with baked tortilla strips, Cheddar cheese, and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately
Serves 6 to 8