Sunday, January 3, 2010

Soup kind of day

I don't know if there are many things more satisfying than feeding the small people I had a hand in creating. The sound of their small feet slapping the hardwood as they run toward the dinner table, scooting their chairs and looking at me with expectant faces as I set food in front of them. All three of my boys have big round chocolate puddles for eyes and they show every thought that races through their expanding brains. It's pretty obvious when dinner is not good.

Here in Western Washington we're in the middle of another grey, long, and slightly chilly winter. Despite the rumors it does not rain here as much as everyone thinks. Sure, it rains. But not RAIN. It's a light drizzle, enough to leave a slight frosting on your back, enough to make straight hair curly, but not enough to soak you in a matter of seconds. Sometimes I wish it would just dump and get it over with already, but that does not seem to be the Washington way. I've lived here my entire existence, so you'd think I would be used to it. And I am. But that does not mean I like it. I remember when my oldest son was about three he hated the rain. HATED.IT. He would scream the short distance from our front door to the car, a mere five feet. He would yell at those raindrops as if it were possible to stop them from falling by the sheer force of his voice. I used to tell him "baby, we live in Washington. Get used to it." He has, and I'm on to passing the advice onto my middle son.

The kids and I love our soup. Doesn't really matter what's in it - soup is good. I love to spoon each bite, balancing the bites to make the broth last the whole bowl. I love dipping my latest gf bread creation in. I love watching my oldest son tip his bowl up to get the last drop out. The hubby does not carry the same passion for soup. In fact, he actively dislikes it. Bummer, dude.

This tortilla soup recipe is one of our favorites, even the hubby likes it. I got it from a friend who got it from who knows where. I used to use flour tortillas, but found corn tortillas work just as well. If you would like flour tortillas I've included the best recipe for gf flour tortillas I've found. They roll out nicely, don't crumble and are still flexible enough to roll around the fillings you've stuffed inside.

My children's eyes light up at the sight of this soup. Yum.

Tortilla Soup

This soup is perfectly balanced with a great smooth, rich texture.

6 Tbps oil
8 Tortillas, halved and cut until 1/4 inch strips
1 large onion, chopped
4 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 Tbsp Paprika
2 1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Coriander
2 tsp Chili Powder
6 cups Chicken broth (can use vegetable broth; I often do)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen fire roasted. So good)
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup lightly packed chopped Cilantro leaves
1 pound cooked chicken breast, chopped (I usually replace this with a can of drained, rinsed black beans)
1 avocado, diced

Heat 4 Tbps oil in large, heavy stockpot on med-high. Add tortilla strips and stir often to evenly brown, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add last 2 Tbsp of oil and onion. Saute over medium heat until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until very fragrant. Pour in broth, tomatoes, salt, cilantro, and 1/3 of the tortilla strips. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

If you have an immersion blender you can immedietly blend until smooth. If not let cool for 5 minutes and process in your blender in batches, making sure not to overfill. Trust me here, I've burned my arms more than once. Add chicken or black beans (or both!) and heat for 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, a small handfull of tortilla strips, a dallop of sour cream, and a squeeze of lime.

This is also perfect for buffet style serving, which we do often when friends are over. This is always a hit.

Flour Tortillas

After going GF I tried every tortilla recipe I could get my hands on. I don't particularly like corn tortillas, and I couldn't get a flour tortilla recipe to work for me using gf flours. They cracked, fell apart, burned, were too thin/thick/hard. This recipe made me fall in love with tortillas all over again. These were the tortillas I was looking for. I took what I knew about making the wheat tortillas I used to make and translated it to a gf option. In my humble little opinion these are the best gf tortillas out there.

If you have a brown rice flour mixture already premade - use it. If not I mix:

2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch

measure out 1 1/2 cups of it for this recipe and save the rest for something else. I make this in big batches (double or triple above quantities)

1 1/2 cups Brown Rice Flour mix
1/2 cup corn flour or masa harina
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup shortning
1 cup hot water

In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortning with a pastry blender, or, like me, with your finger. Add hot water and stir until well blended.

Form into 6-8 extra large golf ball sized rounds. This is where parchment paper becomes your friend. I had never even bought a box of the stuff until I was diagnosed. In the past few months I've gone through boxes of it. It is so necessary when making gf things like this. I supposed a sil-pat mat would do the same thing.

Cut off two squares of parchment paper - about 18 inches or so. Place one ball at a time between the parchment paper and roll out until thin.

You'll want to heat your grill pan (or skillet) on high until very hot and then turn down to medium or med-low, depending on your stove. Cook one tortilla at a time about 30 seconds or so on each side until the bubbles are nice and browned.

I stack them up on a place covered with a towel to keep them warm and pliable.

Use in recipe above or fill to your hearts content.

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