I am a pretty simple person. My two main obsessions are what I am going to read next and what I’m going to eat next. DP is off being his charming self at a lit festival while I lie on my fainting couch and bemoan my slightly ill state. Between bemoaning, I thought about what I wanted to eat. Due to my annual October cold, I focused on soup.
After way too much time thinking about what food we had on hand and whether I could operate the long clutch of the truck without whimpering (back issues) to get to the grocery store, I came up with one of my bachelor standards. Tortilla soup. And because I had some extra heads of garlic hanging around—and because I have no one to kiss until Monday night—I made garlic broth for the first time.
This tortilla soup is adapted from Anna Thomas’ tortilla soup tlaxcalteca. It is the most marked up and spilled upon recipe in my copy of the Vegetarian Epicure II. (Maternal Clause and I decided, after much thought, that this would be the one cookbook I took to college. It was a little fancy for college, but was good for my twenties.)
If you have time begin with broth.
Any combination of ingredients works with broth. Thomas recommends potato peels, but I didn’t have any potatoes, and I had no use for unpeeled potatoes today, so I poured 2 qts of water into my slow cooker and added one head of garlic broken into cloves but with the peels still on (makes it richer), one onion quartered, two small carrots cut into big pieces, a healthy dollop of olive oil. Her recipe is made for any kind of soup so instead of adding thyme and sage, I added oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper in anticipation of a Mexican meal. I set the slow cooker for 1 1/2 hours and forgot it. Scoop out the solids, save the garlic to spread on toast if you want, it’s all creamy and mild, but that was too much work for me. I composted that shit (new curbside pilot compost program. Yay!). Now you have broth.
Slow cooker chicken version
Put 2 qts of broth in slow cooker. Add one jar of (home-canned if you’re lucky enough to live with a canner) tomatillo salsa (or blanch a handful of tomatillos and put in food processor with onions, chiles, and a little hot water). Put in 1-2 lbs of chicken. Add some cumin, coriander, oregano, and cayenne. Set it for four hours and then take a nap. Cooking is tiring.
Shred the chicken and put back in pot while you fry some corn tortilla pieces in olive oil. Cut some soft cheese into squares. Thomas recommends panella (not sure what that is) or mozzarella. Slice up avocados if you have them.
Put soup in bowls and add tortillas, cheese, avocados, and a bit of lime. Feel better about the world.
This is a great vegan recipe. Lotsa flavor. Omit chicken and cheese. Maybe add some chickpeas for protein. Hominy or potatoes would also be delicious in this, and would add texture and depth.
What are you going to eat next?