TORTILLA SOUP

This recipe was originally published in 2006 in the Take-home-Miracles column, which runs on Sundays in the Dallas Morning News. Today, this article was republished to remind us the wonderful flavors from Tex-Mex Coussine.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/3 cups chopped onion

2 Guerrero white corn tortillas, torn in pieces

2 (7-ounce) cans salsa casera (Herdez or Embasa brand)

3 cups Shortcut Chicken Broth (recipe given)

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce with garlic and oregano

1 (8-ounce) package Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce or 6 ounces Hatch Red Enchilada Sauce (medium) (see Notes)

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

2 chicken breasts cut in bite-size pieces (reserved from rotisserie chicken)

1 (3.5-ounce) package tortilla strips

3 to 4 ounces grated Monterey Jack or white Mexican cheese such as Oaxaca or Longhorn cheddar

1 avocado, peeled and diced

Lime wedges for garnish

Preheat oven to 200 F.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tortillas, reduce the heat and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes. Add salsa casera and simmer 5 minutes.

Transfer the onion mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Add to chicken broth along with tomato sauce and red enchilada sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cilantro and chicken. Cook on medium-low heat long enough to warm the chicken. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken broth to thin.

Warm serving bowls in the oven.

Pour the soup into bowls, dividing chicken equally. Add tortilla strips, cheese and avocado to each one. Serve with a lime wedge.

Makes 4 entree servings.

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CHILLED CORN SOUP

4 ears yellow corn

4 ears white corn

2 stalks basil

3 1/2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided use)

1 yellow onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons white peppercorns, ground in a clean coffee grinder

2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander, ground in a clean coffee grinder

3/4 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste

Salt to taste

4 to 6 tablespoons toasted Marcona almonds, coarsely ground, for garnish (optional)

Remove husks and silk from corncobs. Cut off the kernels and set them aside, reserving the corncobs.

Char cobs lightly on a grill or roast them on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 400 F oven for about 15 minutes, turning once, or until lightly browned.

Put the roasted corncobs in a tall pasta or stock pot. Add just enough water to cover the cobs and bring to a low boil. Cook for about 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the whole stalks of basil. Allow the basil to steep into the corn broth for about 15 minutes, off the heat. Strain the corn broth and set it aside.

Set a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan, then the onion and a little salt. Cover and let the onions sweat briefly, but do not allow them to color. Add the corn and sauté for about 3 minutes. When the corn and onions are fragrant but not browned, add the pepper and coriander, and stir. Add the white wine and just enough corn broth to cover the corn; you may not need all the corn broth. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the cream and remove from the heat.

Purée the soup in a blender, in batches, adding an equal amount of corn and broth each time; purée thoroughly until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt. Chill the soup. Taste again before serving and add salt if necessary.

Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with remaining olive oil. If desired, garnish with coarsely ground Marcona almonds.

Makes 8 servings.

From Michael Ehlert, Campo Modern Country Bistro

 

ELOTE-STYLE ROASTED CORN

Elote-Style Roasted Corn is a sophisticated twist on a Mexican street favorite.

8 ears yellow corn in the husk

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime juice, or to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons arbol chile powder

1/2 teaspoon dark chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

8 ounces asadero cheese (or other part-skim low moisture cheese), grated

4 to 6 tablespoons queso fresco, crumbled, to taste

Valentina hot sauce, or your favorite hot sauce, to taste

8 lime wedges for serving

Heat an outdoor grill until piping hot.

Partially shuck corn, leaving the innermost 1 to 2 layers of husk on to shield the kernels during grilling. Place the corn on the hot grill and grill on all sides until husk is black and corn is tender to the touch. It should take about 20 minutes total, depending on heat of the grill.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, salt, chili powders, paprika and asadero cheese until incorporated.

Remove the corn from the grill and allow to cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Remove the charred husk and all of the silk from the corn. Using a chef’s knife, remove the kernels from each cob with a downward motion of the knife. Discard the cobs.

Place the corn in the same bowl with the cream mixture and mix to combine. Divide corn among 8 serving bowls and top each with a small amount of queso fresco and hot sauce. Serve with lime wedges.

Makes 8 servings.

From John Franke

He is corporate chef of Front Burner Restaurants, which owns Velvet Taco

MEXICAN-STYLE GRILLED CORN

This classic street food is often served on a stick to make it easier to walk around eating the portable snack. If you don’t have a grill, the corn can be cooked in a cast iron skillet set over high heat instead.

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups crumbled Cotija cheese (grated Parmesan cheese may be substituted)

1/4 cup lime juice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

8 ears corn, husked

Lime wedges, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, Cotija cheese, lime juice and cayenne. Preheat grill to high for at least 5 minutes. Brush the corn with vegetable oil. Grill the corn, turning every minute or two, until lightly charred in places, about 5 minutes int total. Toss the grilled corn with the mayonnaise mixture. Serve immediately with with lime wedges and plenty of napkins.

Tip: You can serve corn on skewers. Stick the skewer on the back of the corn.

Makes 8 servings.