Monday, December 16, 2013

Tortilla Soup

This incredible tortilla soup is a recipe I got from a cooking class on my honeymoon. We honeymooned at the Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica and they offered a cooking class with an executive chef. For me this was the best activity the resort offered. For my hubby, not so much. Luckily my new groom was willing to tag along to make the experience even more special. We got into the kitchen and were handed white aprons ::shriek of excitement:: and then handed all of our prepped ingredients. The finished product was so smooth and delicious that I made him go back two days later to learn another dish. The coolest thing that I learned about the Four Seasons Resorts while on this trip is that any dish you eat while staying there (or any Four Seasons Resort), you can ask for a recipe and they gladly offer it up! I don't often stay at the Four Seasons (Because I'm cheap and I like a good Hampton Inn) but for special occasions like a honeymoon, we'll spring for the luxury. I thought this concept was too cool. While lounging poolside, I had the chance to speak with the Executive Chef who was the brains behind the idea of sharing the recipes as well as the cooking classes with guests. He said that he thought that it would be interesting for guests to be able to take a little piece of their trip home with them and it would be a great experience for those of us that love to cook, to cook alongside the talented chef's that were creating the dishes we were enjoying during our stay. So today, I am sharing a little piece of my honeymoon trip to Costa Rice with y'all. I hope that it warms you from the inside out during these winter months of snow, ice and arctic temperatures. 

14 oz whole tomatoes
1 1/3 cup white onions, large diced
1/2 cup celery, large diced
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups tomato juice
1 tsp whole cumin seed*
3 handfuls, fried corn tortillas (tortilla chips)

1 1/3 cups ripe avocado, chopped into squares
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (The cheese thief helped himself to my mozzarella so I used cheddar)
1 1/3 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast**
1 bunch fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

Spread the tomatoes with oil and salt and grill them until they become soft (you could also bake and broil them). Saute the onions, celery and garlic in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the vegetables are caramelized incorporate the cumin seeds then the chicken stock and tomato juice. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Add the tortillas to the soup and cook for another 20 minutes or until tortillas are tender. Let the soup cool then add to a blender and puree it until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with the avocado, cheese, shredded chicken and fresh coriander.

*Note: You can find whole cumin seed at Whole Foods or a similar store. If you can't find them, feel free to use ground cumin. Leaving them whole to puree in the blender brings out more flavor than the pre-ground kind therefore you may use a dash or two extra if using the ground kind.
**Note: You can boil chicken breast in salted water, salt and pepper it when done and then use your stand-mixer with blade attachment to shred the chicken. This is my favorite technique to use. 

Enjoy! XOXO~

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