Inspired by Mrs. Me’s ongoing quest for the perfect tortilla soup, and by the high-quality version produced by Mi Cocina (the recently opened in Chevy Chase and recently reviewed here restaurant), I decided to see what I could whip up on my own in mi cocina.
I used a recipe from the illustrious J. Kenji López-Alt, but made a couple of small adjustments. Uno, I cut the recipe in half — in case it turned out poorly, I didn’t want to have extra wasteful servings. Dos, H Mart didn’t have any poblano peppers this week — they always have poblanos! Que pasa, H Mart? So I substituted a bit of jalapeño, after testing to make sure it wasn’t too fiery. But still less than I would have used of a poblano. Y tres, I didn’t feel like buying corn flour just for this recipe, so I raided my stash of rice flour instead.
Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe. I tend not to broil anything because I have never had an oven capable of doing it well, but I tried our Breville toaster oven on the tomatoes and they charred like a charm, so that was a happy experiment. And I had a small blender incident — it was too full and the top blew off and there was a certain percentage of kitchen drenched in tomato-ancho splooge, but that’s what paper towels are for? And everything else went smoothly.
In particular, I don’t think the substitutions made any difference, although I’d like to use poblano next time. And next time I will make the full recipe — I may double the recipe! Although I’ll be blending for days if I try a double recipe (or else the kitchen will flood). I also tried frying my own tortilla strips for garnish, and that worked great, a little corn oil and cut-up corn tortillas and in just a few minutes I had golden brown, crisp shards for added texture and presentation.
There will be a next time.
End result: a tasty tortilla soup that I don’t think was quite as good as the one at Mi Cocina, and much more labor-intensive (for me, anyway), but it was fun to try and Mrs. Me liked it a lot, and that’s what really matters, right?