Whenever I read a food magazine or surf the web, there are always recipes that intrigue me. A glossy photo of a perfectly proportioned vegetable, an unusual spice, or a new cooking technique, will inspire me to rush to the kitchen. Because these urges to create are often impulsive and impromptu, I run the risk not being able to complete the dish right then. The pantry may be inadequately stocked, l’m lacking a certain key ingredient, or it’s just the wrong season.
Take for example the preparation of Turkey Tortilla Soup.
Versions of this recipe always appear around the Thanksgiving holiday, as the primary ingredient is leftover turkey and gravy, with lots of chopped veggies. But the key vegetable to the tortilla flavor component in this colorful soup is tomatillos.
For those you have never enjoyed a tomatillo (pronounced tohm-ah-TEE-o), they are eaten when still green and fairly firm, and their flavor has hints of apples and lemon. Also known as the Mexican green tomato, they have papery husks, and come in green and purple. I planted one in my garden years ago, and am blessed with volunteer plants every season.
But in Maine, to make this soup in November would be hard, as any fresh tomatillos would be frozen, little orbs on the vine.
If you don’t have turkey, chopped chicken can be used instead. Chicken stock will work instead of gravy, and I used canned chilies. The soup has just the right amount of kick, and the toppings complete the dish.
TURKEY TORTILLA SOUP
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrot about 2 medium
- ½ cup green bell pepper cut into ½ inch dice
- 1 cup diced tomatillos
- 1 ½ cup diced tomatoes
- 1 ounce ancho chili chopped or 1 – 4can chopped green chilies
- ½ cup frozen corn
- 4 cups chicken stock or gravy
- 2 cups chopped cooked turkey or chicken
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- grated cheddar cheese
- Tortilla chips
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Sliced avocado or guacamole
- Salsa Verde
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot. Add the chopped onion and cook until it begins to sweat. Add the cumin. Stir in the chopped garlic, celery, and carrot. Add the chopped turkey and sauté for a few minutes. Stir in the chicken stock or gravy, then add the diced tomatillos and tomatoes, green pepper and frozen corn. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then stir in the ancho chili. Simmer for 15 minutes. Taste the soup and correct the seasonings.
- To serve: Ladle soup into heated bowls. Sprinkle grated cheese on top, add some tortilla chips, then top with guacamole and sour cream. Sprinkle with the chopped fresh cilantro. Makes about 10 cups soup, or 5 servings.