Tortilla Soup

1 cup onion, quartered
2 cups plum tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 corn tortilla, cut into short strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 ancho chile, stemmed, seeded, toasted, finely chopped
1/2 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup tomato sauce
salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken meat, cooked, julienned
1 cup cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup avocado, peeled, pitted, cubed
1 cup corn tortillas, fried strips

  1. Rub the onion and tomatoes with the oil and gill on all sides until well charred, 15-20 minutes. You may also do this on a sheet pan under the broiler.
  2. Put the tomatoes and onion a blender or processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil. Add the tortilla, garlic, and chile and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the bay leaf, cumin, and stock; bring to a boil.
  5. Stir in the tomato mixture and the tomato sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Season and strain through a course strainer. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Heat the soup and serve. Garnish with the chicken, cheese, avocado, and crisp tortilla strips.

Chef: broth has nice flavor and kick, could add more chicken though; could have more tortilla strips.

Personal/team: I thought it could use more chicken and possibly larger pieces. Spice was really nice, we used cayanne, pablano, serrano and chili powder to get a well rounded flavor and spice combination. The broth was very rich and the grilled vegetables give off a nice smoky flavor.

Lessons Learned:Large garnishes sink and a lighter garnish can float better and looks more elegant.