Wednesday, September 18 2013, 11:16 AM MDT
As aired on September 17, 2013
Recipe courtesy of Katie Johnson, Beehive Cheese Company
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium fresh Anaheim or poblano chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, un-drained (recommended Muir Glen® fire-roasted)
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 11⁄2 limes), or to taste
Salt, to taste
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, preferably stale*
2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for oiling pan
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced (optional)
8 ounces Mexican queso fresco (or other fresh cheese such as farmer's cheese), cut into small cubes
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
1.For the Soup: Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat; add 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat through. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, Anaheim or poblano chile, crushed red pepper flakes, and cumin; cook just until the aroma is released, about 2 minutes more.
2.Transfer the sautéed onion mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the tomatoes and process until smooth.
3.Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the pureed tomato mixture and stir until thick and considerably darker, about 5 minutes.
4.Add the chicken broth to the tomato mixture; partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Add the lime juice, then season to taste with salt and lime juice.
5.To Serve: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush both sides of each tortilla with oil. Slice the tortillas in half, then slice the halves crosswise into 1⁄4-inch strips. Spread the tortilla strips in a single, even layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake, turning halfway through cooking time, until crisp and golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and immediately sprinkle with salt Set aside until needed.
6.Divide half of the crispy tortilla strips among 4 individual soup bowls; ladle in the soup. Top with diced avocado (if using) and cheese; garnish with the remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Tips and Techniques
* It's best to use tortillas that do not have a high moisture content. If you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, arrange them on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 200°F for 10 to 15 minutes to dry them out a bit.