Three Great Soups

My friend Jen has been making my soups for large groups in Paris. I thought I’d share two of the ones she’s made (tomato basil and corn chowder) and share also my tortilla soup recipe. Perhaps today is a good day to make soup!

Fresh Tomato Basil Soup

This soup is especially lovely with homemade garlic-olive oil croutons (See page . . .) and a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream.

½ red onion, chopped finely
6 cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tbs. Olive oil
4 cups fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped (Or you can use two cans of canned, chopped plum
tomatoes . . . just be sure they are uncooked, not stewed.)
1 ½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion and garlic over medium heat in soup pot until onions are starting to brown, about five minutes. Add tomatoes, broth and basil. Cook over medium heat until tomatoes are cooked through, fifteen minutes. Add cream. Cool soup to room temperature. In batches, puree soup in blender. (To eliminate the cooling step, puree the hot soup with a hand held blender.) Return soup to pan and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low until ready to serve. Serves four.

Chicken Corn Chowder

This is one of those cold-weather soups that children love as well as adults. Serve with cornbread sticks and a three-bean salad.

1 cup diced ham
2 Tbs. Butter
1 red onion, chopped finely
2 Tbs. All-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into one-inch dice
1 medium tomato, chopped finely
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups frozen corn kernels (Or cut kernels off three fresh cobs)
1 cup cooked chicken breast, torn
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

Place ham and butter in large soup pot and lightly sauté over medium heat, three minutes. Add onion and cook until onions are just starting to brown. Add flour and stir one minute over low heat, being careful not to burn the mixture. Pour in the stock and potatoes. Cook over medium heat for fifteen minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in tomato, cream, corn and chicken breast. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium low heat for fifteen minutes. Add parsley, stir through, and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Tortilla Soup

My daughter Julia asks for this soup nearly every day. Patrick and I first tasted tortilla soup in Puerto Vallarta on our honeymoon. For several years, I looked for a recipe, gave up, and finally developed one of my own. If you don’t have time to make the tortilla strips, you can substitute store-bought chips.

1 Tbs. Butter
1 yellow onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small can green chilies
1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained (You may also use red kidney beans)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup shredded chicken
1 Tbs. Taco seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
12 yellow corn tortillas
¼ cup peanut oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups shredded jack cheese
Sour cream, for serving

Sauté onions and garlic in butter in a large soup pot over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add chilies, tomatoes, beans, corn, chicken stock, chicken and taco seasoning. Stir through on high heat until soup boils. Reduce to low. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer one hour.

With a sharp knife, cut tortillas into ¼ inch strips, stacking them four at a time to save time. Place all tortilla strips on a cookie sheet. Top with oil and salt. Toss the tortillas gently with your hands until they are all coated and the salt is evenly distributed. Spread in an even layer. Place in a 350 degree oven for thirty minutes until slightly brown and crisped. Remove and let cool.

To serve: Ladle soup into bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream, a handful of jack cheese. Place a haystack of tortillas on top. Makes eight servings.

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