It's a recipe from The Mansion on Turtle Creek, one of the finest restaurants in Dallas, famous for its Southwest (note: NOT Tex-Mex) cuisine. I've only eaten there once (someone else paid the exorbitant tab), but it was enough for me to buy the former executive chef Dean Fearing's cookbook. (You can also find the recipe here).
Obviously, this soup is a little more labor-intensive than my usual throw-it-all-into-the-pot Monday night soups (when was the last time you strained YOUR soup?).
The Mansion on Turtle Creek's Tortilla Soup (serves 8-10)
3 tablespoons corn oil
4 corn tortillas -- coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic -- finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh epazote -- chopped (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro - I used the cilantro)
1 cup fresh onion puree (I used one onion in the blender)
2 cups fresh tomato puree (I used one 14.5-oz. canned diced tomatoes and blended in the blender)
1 tablespoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 whole bay leaves (I left these out - don't care for bay leaves)
4 tablespoons canned tomato puree (I also left this out)
2 quarts chicken stock
Since this was a "main dish," I also diced one carrot and put in some frozen corn for interest.
salt -- to taste
cayenne pepper -- to taste (also omitted for Little People's sake)
1 cooked chicken breast -- cut in strips (I used two and shredded them)
1 avocado -- peel, seed & cube
1 cup Cheddar cheese -- shredded
3 corn tortillas, cut in strips -- fried crisp (I used store-bought tortilla chips)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute tortillas with garlic and epazote (or cilantro) over medium heat until tortillas are soft. Add onion and fresh tomato puree and bring to a boil. (Start lighting candles early, because YOU and YOUR WHOLE HOUSE will reek of garlic after this).
Add cumin, chili powder, bay leaves, canned tomato puree, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat to simmer. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. Skim fat from surface, if necessary.
Strain and pour into warm soup bowls (I just poured it through my colander to strain out the chunks of now-very-soggy tortilla).
Garnish each bowl with an equal portion of chicken breast, avocado, shredded cheese, and crisp tortilla strips. Serve immediately. (I put the chicken right into the soup pot. Then we ladeled the whole thing over a few chips in the bowl, and topped with the garnishes.)
Soup may be made one day ahead and gently reheated before serving with garnishes.
Chef's Note: This soup has been on the menu at the restaurant at The Mansion on Turtle Creek since it opened in 1985. According to executive chef Dean Fearing, “When Tortilla Soup is ordered, it is brought to the table in a tureen for individual service by the waiter, who garnishes each bowl according to the customer's desire.”
But OH. MY. GRACIOUS. if you can make the time, it is WONDERFUL!
Let me know if you make it, and what you think!
Do you have a favorite soup recipe to share?