How ‘the sad paste of despair’ became a celebrated delicacy
From a short-order cook’s mix-up, a Texas culinary legend was born
In Texas, tea is a sign of hospitality
You don’t have to be a world-class pitmaster to produce a blue-ribbon brisket
A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.” – Abraham Maslow, American psychologist
In Texas, no two tortilla soups are alike
The origin of tortilla soup is a mystery. Some trace it to Central America, some to Mexico City, while others claim it originated in the Southwest in the 1960s.
What’s certain, however, is there are many different recipes. For many, it’s chicken soup topped with diced tomatoes, avocado, sour cream and fried tortilla strips. Others contend that for it to be authentic, it must include shredded lettuce and green chilis.
In Texas, the best recipes allow for people to personalize their soup by having many ingredients on the side. This way, each person creates soup to their own taste.
CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic ,minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can of black beans
1 cup frozen corn
Juice of 1 lime
2 (4-ounce) boneless breast of chicken
1 avocado sliced or diced
Cilantro to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into ¼- or ½-inch strips
¼ cup vegetable oil for frying tortillas
Salt for tortillas
Heat ¼ cup oil over medium-high heat in a small pan or skillet. Add tortilla strips in small batches and fry until crisp. Drain and salt.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño, cook until softened.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken and shred. Add back into pot and simmer 3 minutes.
Spoon soup into bowls, top with tortilla strips, lime wedges, avocado and cilantro.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.