Cooking As Story – A Cajun Poet Cooks Tortilla Soup

 we forgot to take a picture 😦  it looks like this


I thought I’d continue procrastinating today – why reverse course this late in the day – and write out this recipe.

When my Grandma showed me how to make a roux, it was almost like she was telling a story. Her voice was soft. She was almost whispering. All with a wonderful Cajun accent. That was 40 years ago. I was in my 20’s. It’s a miracle – a real miracle – that that roux didn’t burn to a crisp. That’s how dark my Grandma could make a roux. It didn’t take her very long to get it so dark. It still takes me about an hour 😛 “Be careful it doesn’t burn,” she said. “If it does burn, you’ll have to start all over again.” I’m exaggerating but…it seems her roux was done by the time she’d given that warning!

Cajun Tortilla Soup

BTW, this was fantastic left over tonight. I froze some up. Two of us will get 5 meals from this recipe and a light lunch tomorrow.

The reason I’m calling this Cajun tortilla Soup is because I sorta made up this recipe this afternoon. Also, I’m not s ure about th e measurements. I could have had a bowl for lunch this afternoon but…the restaurant wanted to charge $9 for a bowl. Sigh. It did sound delicious, though, so I came home to make some for supper 😛 Some sorta tomato based Mexican soup with chicken and hominy and stuff, topped with crushed tortilla chips, avocado and I think I saw some green onions on someone’s bowl and some sour cream.

Hmmm….this isn’t something to make Monday evening after work when the toddler needs a bath and the grade schooler is crying over her homework. Once made, though, it’s about 10 nice servings and it freezes well. And kids like anything with the words taco and cheese bread on the menu.

The Recipe

1) 2 cups pinto beans – I used some frozen ones I’d prepared from dried beans – about 2 cups. (unless you’re trying to impress someone – future life partner or mother-in-law, you can buy canned low sodium ones and rinse them off)
2) 5-6 cups purred plum tomatoes – or that much canned, no salt added diced tomatoes (put either in a blender and pulse not too much)
3) 2 -3 cups frozen corn – I used while corn cuz I thought it would add a light color
4) 1 large onion and garlic (to taste) and a couple of mild to hot kind of Mexican peppers – chop all that.
5) Broth – 24 to 32 oz some kind of broth. I used chicken broth since chicken is in the recipe and I had some in the freezer. There’s also all sorts of low sodium and totally unsalted broths to store buy these days. Just watch the ingredients for extra yucky stuff you can’t pronounce!
6) Spices – a teaspoon of oregano, couple teaspoons of chili powder and – just to be on the Cajun safe side, some cayenne pepper to taste. Season to your own taste and tolerance!
7) 1 cup or so of polenta – hominy/ grits would work just as well, – I thought.   Since I’m not in New Orleans anymore, I used polenta cuz it cooks an hour or so and I can only find quick cook grits here in California 😦 The recipe needs to simmer an hour or so – I don’t think instant grits would hold up texture that long? I don’t know. So I used polenta.
8) 3 nice sized chicken breasts boned and skinned. (About a pound and a half)
9) Toppings: sour cream, green onions, shredded cheese and sliced avocado and broken tortilla chips and cilantro.

Get 1-3 ready in a bowl. Rinse the beans.

Chop your onion and garlic and cook that down in a tablespoon of olive oil – be sure to measure! I used to think I was using a tablespoon until I measured and I’d actually been using a little more than that. Never too old to watch fats – even so-called ‘good fats’.

Cook your chicken breasts in another pan. 5 mins on each side. Cut those up in bite sized pieces.

While all that’s cooking down pulse the tomatoes once or twice – canned ones just pulse once probably.

Put all the above in a soup pot and season with the spices.  Add the broth and stir.  Cook on medium for about 15 mins.

Add the chicken and 1 cup of the polenta.

You’re going to cook this for about an hour. May need to add more liquid or more polenta – depends on how you like a one meal soup.

Serve this topped broken tortilla chips (low or no salt ones and low-fat) some avocado and sour cream and green onions and cheese – low-fat sour cream and cheese and cilantro.

Serve with cheese bread cheese on a bun broiled until cheese melts.

And you’re done and it’s lovely and easy peasy 🙂

Whew, I can talk!  But my poems and stories are short 😛



9 thoughts on “Cooking As Story – A Cajun Poet Cooks Tortilla Soup

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