Monday, January 10, 2011
Chorizo Tortilla Soup
We are lucky to have Kelso's Meats, an old-fashioned family owned and operated butcher shop in our small town of Snohomish. Pablo, one of their employees, makes a chorizo sausage that is pretty near perfect. Many commercial chorizos are not much more than seasoned fat, or they are overly spiced, and often they are both, but the chorizo at Kelso's is a nice pork sausage with a blend of seasonings that isn't overwhelming. We are big fans of Pablo's chorizo, but in order to have some of our own pork made into chorizo, we would have to give up some portion of our current three-way ground pork choices of Bratwurst, Italian sausage and plain ground pork, which we are reluctant to do.
The idea occurred to me that though I may not get it as perfect as Pablo's spice blend, I have the best ground pork in the world in our deep freezer, and I could just add spices to a pound at a time and make my own chorizo. I have to admit, many of my ideas aren't always great and some turn out to be really bad, but sometimes, once in a blue moon, I have really brilliant ones and this was one of those times. This chorizo I made was delicious and it was really easy too.
Adapted from Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book
1 lb. ground pork
1/4 c. minced cilantro
1 small jalapeno, finely minced
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 t. each chili powder, paprika and cumin
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper, cayenne and ground coriander
pinch cloves (and/or cinnamon, and/or allspice)
Wrap and leave overnight in fridge (this step is important).
We used some of this the next morning to add to scrambled eggs and it was (almost) as good as Pablo's chorizo. I then mixed in 1 T. masa harina to the remainder, and formed small meatballs to use instead of the more traditional chicken in tortilla soup.
Chorizo Tortilla Soup
Heat 1 T. oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t. chili powder
Cook 3-5 minutes. Add:
1 quart chicken stock
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. canned corn (and/or kidney beans)
1 c. water
1/2 t. Mexican oregano
Bring to a simmer. Add chorizo meatballs. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until done.
Meanwhile, halve 4-5 corn tortillas and cut into thin strips. Fry in hot oil until golden. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Add juice of one lime, cilantro leaves and tortilla strips to the soup. Serve with minced fresh or pickled jalapenos, and lime wedges. Add avocado chunks and/or grated Monterey Jack cheese, if desired, though this soup was pretty good without either. I baked some cornbread muffins to go with, but warmed tortillas would also be good alongside this soup.
To make this soup, I sent my teen daughter to the one-stop-shopping-store to buy chicken stock, limes and avocados, plus a few things she needed (and had parental approval for the use of my debit card for buying). She said the avocados were rock hard, so she didn't buy any (good call). She did buy the chicken stock and limes, plus printer ink and her other 'essential stuff' -the total of which cost over $170. I joked it was a bit expensive for homemade soup, even if this is a really, really good soup.