Tlalpeño/Tortilla Soup Hybrid

It is November, already!  Nights are cooling down. Days have been damp and blustery. It’s time for comfort food to warm the body and the spirit.

I couldn’t decide  between making a chipotle infused tlalpeño soup or a more common tortilla soup last night.  The simplest thing was to take the best of both and combine them into one meal.

Both soups feature chicken. Usually the chicken is simmered in broth, then diced or shredded.  I like to use chicken thighs simmered whole and skin on for flavor.  I do remove as much solid fat from the thighs as possible before browning them for color and to start my broth base. After the thighs are browned, I remove them and sweat onions and garlic in the rendered chicken fat.  Last night, after the onions were soft and translucent, I added fresh corn kernels from an ear of corn and let them brown a little.  Next was a can of no salt added petit diced tomatoes.  I returned the thighs to the pot and added lower sodium chicken broth to cover them and let this mix simmer about 20 minutes until the chicken thighs were done and tender. Next diced Mexican and yellow squash were added to the pot with a little more broth. I add the squash toward the end of cooking so it retains a little texture.  A couple of minced chipotle chiles and a two or three teaspoons of adobo sauce from the chiles were added and it all simmered a little more to impart the wonderful heat and smokey undertones of the chiles to the soup.

I plated it as I would a traditional tortilla soup.  I used oven browned tortilla strips on top of the soup and placed a whole thigh in the center of the bowl.  A slice of lime and diced avocado were the tlalpeño touches at the end. Shredded cheese would have been good, but I didn’t do cheese last night.  The result was a hearty soup with hints of two favorite dishes and a blend of flavors that required second helpings all around.


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