Tortilla Soup with Crisp Tortillas and Avocado Relish
  for tortilla soup
1/2   white onion
1 lb.  plum tomatoes
6   peeled garlic cloves
2   dried guajillo chilies* (about 1 ounce)
2   dried ancho chilies* (about 1 ounce)
  ten 5- to 6-inch white corn tortillas
  about 2 cups peanut or vegetable oil for deep-frying
8 cup  chicken stock*
1/2 tsp  dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp  coarse salt
  for avocado relish
2   ripe california avocados
1 small  vine-ripened tomato
2/3 cup  finely chopped white onion (about 1/2 onion)
1 to 2   fresh serrano chilies
2 Tbsp  chopped fresh coriander sprigs
2 tsp  fresh lime juice
1 tsp  coarse salt
1/2 tsp  coarsely crushed black peppercorns
8   fresh coriander sprigs
  garnish lime wedges
*available at latino markets, specialty foods shops, and some 
make soup: 
preheat broiler. 
coarsely chop onion. in a well-seasoned 9-inch cast-iron or other 
heavy ovenproof skillet arrange onion, tomatoes, and garlic in one 
layer and broil about 2 inches from heat, turning vegetables 
occasionally with tongs, until tomato skins are blistered and lightly 
charred, about 20 minutes. cool vegetables. 
while vegetables are broiling, remove stems, seeds, and ribs from 
chilies (wear rubber gloves). heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet over 
moderate heat until hot but not smoking and toast chilies, 1 or 2 at a 
time, pressing down with tongs, a few seconds on each side, or until 
more pliable. transfer chilies as toasted to a bowl. cover chilies 
with hot water and soak about 20 minutes, or until soft. 
drain chilies, discarding soaking liquid, and in a blender purie with 
vegetable mixture until smooth. 
cut 6 tortillas into quarters and cut remaining 4 tortillas into 
1/4-inch-wide strips. in cleaned 9-inch skillet heat 1/2 inch oil 
until a deep-fat thermometer registers 375 f. and fry tortilla 
quarters in 3 batches, turning them, until crisp and pale golden, 30 
seconds to 1 minute. with a slotted spoon transfer quarters as fried 
to paper towels to drain. 
fry tortilla strips in 2 batches in same manner, transferring with 
tongs to paper towels to drain and keeping them separate from fried 
tortilla quarters. in a plastic bag with a rolling pin finely crush 
tortilla quarters. 
in a 5-quart heavy kettle bring stock and chili purie to a boil, 
stirring. stir in crushed tortillas, oregano, and salt and simmer, 
uncovered, whisking occasionally, until tortillas are soft and soup is 
slightly thickened, 30 to 45 minutes. if necessary, season soup with 
salt and pepper. 
make relish while soup is simmering: 
quarter avocados, removing pits, and peel. cut avocados into 1/4-inch 
dice and finely chop tomato. wearing rubber gloves, finely chop 
chilies, including seeds if desired. in a bowl gently stir together 
avocados, tomato, onion, chilies, and remaining relish ingredients 
until combined well. 
divide relish, fried tortilla strips, and coriander among 8 soup 
plates and ladle soup over mixture. garnish soup with lime wedges. 
makes about 9 cups. 
october 1997 
robert del grande 
you asked for it 
cafe annie, houston tx 
(ID: 8307) Mirror: Sat, Apr 3, 2004

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