Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In Search of Lost Soup

If you lived in Houston in 2000-2013, you knew Taco Milagro on the corner of Kirby and Westheimer. It wasn't a restaurant known for its food; it was one of the city's "see and be seen" meet markets for single people. It had a huge patio, salsa dancing, good margaritas, and was completely packed in the evenings.  

Ancho chili
I was at Taco Milagro when someone told me her theory about deciding if men were datable depending on their shoes. Gucci tasseled-loafers were particularly favorable. I can't remember why. "Never date guys with cheap shoes" was what it boiled down to.   I've never followed this advice, because it seemed like one of the dumber ways of selecting a mate, but I'm still single, so what do I know?
white corn tortillas
Anyway, Taco Milagro served the usual tacos, burritos, chips, salsa and guacamole, which were passable, but my favorite was the tortilla soup, which was not a brothy chicken soup, but a thick and spicy tomato based soup (with chicken). I loved that soup. It had depth to it. I would go there just for the soup.
But Taco Milagro closed in 2013, cutting off my supply. So I've been noodling around the interwebs looking for a recipe that might work. This is my first attempt. It's good but a little thin. The search continues. . .

Spicy Tortilla Soup 1
  • 2 ancho chilis
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 4 corn tortillas (torn into pieces)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken

  • salt
  • cilantro
  • queso fresco 
  • lime juice
  • avocado

Seed the ancho chilies and soak them in hot water for about an hour.

Puree the chilies with the onion, the tomatoes and the garlic.

Heat up your soup pot and put about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in it.  Fry the pureed vegetables for about 5 minutes, until aromatic.

Add 6 cups chicken broth, the tortillas, the cilantro and the chicken and simmer until the tortillas have dissolved and thickened the soup.

Salt to taste. (I used about a teaspoon.)

Garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, lime juice, and tortilla strips. You won't see any tortilla strips on mine because I'm a chicken about frying things. (Hot oil in large amounts scares me.)

My soup, you can tell my avocado was bit bruised, but it still tasted okay.

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