Today's Cook the Book recipe isn't intended for Thanksgiving, but the day after. As a vehicle for leftover turkey, Martha Stewart's tortilla soup couldn't be further away from the turkey and cranberry sandwiches that can seem neverending in the last days of fall. It's smoky with pasilla chiles, bright with lime, and ready to be heaped with your favorite Tex-Mex garnishes.
The recipe calls for a whole, uncooked chicken, but leftover roast turkey is easily substituted—just remember to skip the first step.
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- For chicken and stock:
- 1 large whole chicken (about 4 1/2 pounds), cut into pieces, or use 4 1/2 pounds chicken parts
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 tablespoon coarse salt
- For chile puree:
- 2 dried pasilla chiles
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons sunflower or other neutral-tasting oil, plus more for tomatoes
- 3 tomatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds), halved
- 1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- For finishing soup:
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- For garnishes:
- Fried tortilla strips
- 1/4 white or green cabbage, halved lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup finely grated cotija cheese (1 to 2 ounces)
- 3/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 ripe, firm avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
- Lime wedges
Place the chicken, stock, peppercorns, bay leaf, and the salt in a large stockpot. Bring just to a boil, skimming foam from the surface, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, 9 to 12 minutes for breast pieces and 12 to 18 minutes for legs and thighs.
Remove chicken from stock. Once it is cool enough to handle, slip off skin and pull meat from bones, then shred meat into bite-size pieces. Strain stock through a sieve into a clean saucepan.
Meanwhile, toast the chiles in a dry medium skillet over high heat until fragrant and charred, about 1 minute on each side. Let cool a bit, then split chiles lengthwise and scrape out seeds; discard seeds. Put chiles in a bowl and cover with warm water to soften, about 20 minutes (do not drain). If necessary, weight chiles with another bowl to keep them submerged.
Heat broiler with rack about 5 inches below heat source. Lightly oil tomatoes and broil until charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Let cool briefly, then coarsely chop.
Using the same skillet as above, heat oil over medium-high heat and saute onion and garlic until translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the tomatoes and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in chiles and soaking liquid.
Allow mixture to cool slightly before pureeing in a blender until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve, pressing with a flexible spatula to extract as much liquid as possible (discard solids).
Add puree to fortified stock and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend. Add shredded chicken and cook just to heat through, then stir in lime juice.
Ladle soup into serving bowls and serve garnishes in individual bowls alongside.