Sometimes I just can't help myself. This recipe began its life as a basic shrimp and chipotle soup thickened with a little masa harina. Simple and satisfying. I could have stopped there but instead decided to add stuff to both bulk it out and make it more dynamic. Potatoes would solve the first problem. For the second, I realized I could either go with tomatoes or tomatillos. Both would enliven each sip with acidity, and if I roasted them, they'd add a smoky profile as well. But which one to use?
Why not try both side by side, then see which one worked best? Everything was going to plan until the last few minutes when I tasted each. Both had aspects I admired, but neither truly stood out. Then the inspiration finally hit. Why not just combine the two? While I knew the flavors would work, I mostly worried they'd swirl together to form some unappetizing brown color. Luckily, it turned out more of an autumnal orange.
The roasted soup base is acidic but thick, with just a little bit of spice hiding out in the back. The shrimp add a pop of sweetness, while a finally sprinkling of cilantro, avocado, and lime help freshen things up.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:40 minutes
- 8 ounces tomatoes, stems removed
- 8 ounces tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
- 1/2 medium onion, peeled, cut in half
- 1medium garlic clove, peeled
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chipotles en adobo, chopped (depending on spice level you prefer)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups low sodium homemade or store-bought chicken broth
- 1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound medium shrimp, shells and tails removed, deveined
- 1 ripe hass avocado, skin removed, seeded, and chopped
- Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 limes, cut into quarters
Adjust an oven rack to six inches below the broiler. Preheat the broiler to high. Place the tomatoes, tomatillos, and onion pieces on a foil-lined baking sheet, and set underneath the broiler. Broil until everything just starts to develop black spots, about 10 minutes. Carefully flip everything with a pair of tongs, and cook until slightly blackened on the other side, about 5 minutes longer. Turn off the heat, and remove the pan from the oven. Let everything cool for 1 minute.
When cool, add the tomatoes, tomatillos, and onion pieces to a blender, along with the chipotles and garlic. Puree the mixture until smooth.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add the puree. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until it has reduced somewhat and starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Add the potatoes. Simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and firm, about two minutes. Season to taste with salt (this may not be required if chicken broth is salty).
Serve the soup with a sprinkle of cilantro, a quarter of the avocado, and a wedge of lime.