Corn Tortilla Soup/photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Donna and I spent half the day yesterday shooting the promotional video for our new book, out next month, and I figured I should ask our videographer, Cynthia Albanese, to shoot as much video as possible.  So in addition to describing the book, I also roasted a chicken, made stock and made a soup from the stock to demonstrate The Generosity of a Chicken.  We had fresh corn, tomatoes from the garden and everyone loves the dynamic flavor the lime juice gives this soup, the richness of the avocado, and fresh crunchy tortillas, so that’s what I made. When you’ve got delicious stock on hand, you’re five minutes away from dozens of possible meals.  I could have used left over chicken and some noodles, I could have cooked potatoes in it, pureed it, finished it with cream for vichyssoise, I could have added whatever vegetables I had on hand, or legumes. But corn tortilla it was, a delicious and easy soup.

Here’s the post on easy chicken stock from the carcass of the roast chicken—a technique that should be a regular part of your kitchen routine. If you have the time, add the corn cobs to the stock and simmer them for 30 minutes for additional corn flavor.

Corn Tortilla Soup Recipe

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked hot paprika or ground chipotle, or more to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1 quart/1 liter chicken stock
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • kernals from 2 ears of corn
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • lime juice to taste
  • 2 avocados, large dice
  • 8 t0 12 corn tortillas, fried crispy
  • cilantro to taste
  1. In a pan big enough for all the ingredients, sweat the garlic and onion in the oil over medium high heat. Add the chilli powder and also hit the onions with two 4-finger pinches of salt.
  2. When the onion is translucent, add the stock.  Bring it to a simmer, then add the tomatoes and corn.  When the soup returns to a simmer it’s ready to serve, but it can be kept warm till you need it.  Taste it to make sure it’s perfectly seasoned—add more salt if it needs it.  Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper if you wish.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls. Give each bowl a squeeze of lime. Garnish each bowl with diced avocado, tortilla, and cilantro. Serve extra tortillas on the side.

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© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.