Saturday, May 9, 2009

Turkey Tortilla Soup

So I was sitting here on the porch a couple of days ago, working on my laptop, and a movement outside caught my eye. I grabbed my camera, which was conveniently on the table beside the computer, and took this photo.

There have been a couple of turkeys hanging around the house lately. They hear the squeaking sound that the birdfeeder makes as I screw apart the top to refill it, and they come running out of the field. I’ll be weeding outside, hear a rustling and a “cluck-cluck” from the holly hedge, and know that I’m being watched. This amuses Jack considerably since the minute he steps outside they run, but I have to be careful that they don’t get too close to me. In their little beady turkey-eyes, I am the provider of meals. They like me.

It was raining, and I had not yet gone outside to refill the bird feeder on that day, and apparently one of the turkeys decided to remind me of my neglectfulness. Or stop by for a drink from the fish-pond. In either case, Spooky was not particularly happy since he considers himself the King of our farm and he has not given these interlopers permission to be here as well. He stares at them very fiercely. He hisses as they walk past. They do not care a bit.

I felt a little badly because in the kitchen, simmering on the stove, was a pot of turkey stock. I had roasted a large turkey breast a couple of days previously and had planned to make a turkey-veggie-rice soup on this rainy day. However, before I got the chance, I found a Cuisine At Home recipe which called to me.

Turkey Tortilla Soup.

I have made several versions of tortilla soup, both chicken and vegetarian, but this one was different and not just because of the turkey. Every other recipe I have made uses baked tortilla strips either as a garnish, or piled in the bowl with the soup ladled over it. This recipe used corn tortillas as a thickener, with no crunchy strips added.

And it used some cream (although we know that I substituted for that!) to make a creamy soup rather than a brothy one.

Now, as I mentioned, I made changes.

  • I subbed lowfat half & half for the heavy cream (and I whisked 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into it to thicken the soup even more)
  • Decreased the amount shredded cheese and "reassigned" it to being a garnish (rather than melting it into the soup)
  • Added avocado, tomato, and chopped fresh cilantro as a garnish.
  • I also (inadvertently) forgot about the sour cream. :)

This soup was so very good and it will now be our favorite tortilla soup. I’m thinking that I could add cooked black beans next time, but I will keep my garnish of tomato, avocado, and cilantro because those flavors really did well with the soup. And maybe I'll remember to add the (light) sour cream, too.

I used my immersion blender to puree the soup while still in the pot. I love my immersion blender, though I do not use it often. But it saves me having to clean the blender!

Turkey Tortilla Soup

2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 cups onion -- minced
2 T. garlic -- minced
3 corn tortillas (6 inch each) -- cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (101/2 oz.)
4 cups chicken broth
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. cayenne

2 cups cooked turkey or chicken -- shredded or cubed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese -- shredded
2 T. fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper
Sour cream

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high; add onions and garlic, and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in tortilla pieces and sauté until they are no longer crisp. Add tomatoes, broth, and spices, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat; let cool 5 minutes, then puree soup base in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return soup to pot.

Add turkey, corn, and cream. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes, or until beginning to thicken. Reduce heat to medium, sprinkle in cheese, and stir until melted. Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

(Cuisine at Home, December 2005, Issue 54, p. 36)
Makes: 8 Cups