With Eugene blanketed in snow, it seemed like a good day to make soup. I unearthed the carcass of our successfully spatchcocked Fair Valley Farm turkey, which I'd tossed in the freezer after we'd polished off all the leftovers and turkey sandwiches we could eat, and simmered it for a couple of hours with some celery and parsnips I found in the crisper.
The resulting flavorful turkey stock formed the basis for a delicious tortilla soup, based on a Rick Bayless recipe. This soup starts with a puree of rehydrated pasilla chiles, roasted garlic, onion, and tomato, that is then fried in oil to deepen the flavors. This is then diluted with stock into a deep red, fragrant soup. The best part is in the serving, when you pile on crispy strips of fried tortilla, creamy avocado, sharp radish, and plenty of grated cheese that melts into this bone-warming soup.
Turkey Stock Tortilla Soup
adapted from Rick Bayless, serves four
4 to 5 medium (about 1 1/2 ounces total) dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded (also called chilles negros)
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 or 4 roma tomatoes or one small can of tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
1 medium white onion, peeled, halved, and sliced 1/8 thick
3 Tbsp of vegetable oil for the soup and more for frying the tortilla strips
6 cups turkey broth (see below), or substitute chicken broth
salt to taste
4 to 6 corn tortillas, cut into strips, fried in vegetable oil until crispy, and salted
shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack
1 bunch radishes, julienned
1 or 2 avocados, diced
1 large lime, cut into wedges
1. Seed and stem the chiles. Toast them in a hot, dry skillet for a few moments, until fragrant, and then soak in boiling water until softened, at least 15 minutes. In the same hot skillet, toast the garlic cloves until soft and slightly charred. Peel and place in a blender jar.
2. Heat a large soup pot. Add 2 Tbsp oil and saute the sliced onion until it becomes nicely browned. Squeeze the onion against the side of the pot to leave as much oil behind as possible and transfer to the blender jar. Add the tomatoes and the drained rehydrated chiles. Blend until smooth. If you like, you can pass the puree through a strained to ensure that the soup is free of any seeds or chile bits.
3. Reheat the soup pan and add the remaining Tbsp oil. Add the chile puree and stir continuously as the mixture thickens and darkens. Add the turkey stock, bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt as needed.
4. Serve the soup warm with all of the garnishes for everyone to add as they wish. Enjoy.
1 turkey carcass
a few stocks celery and a carrot, parsnip, and onion or two
In a large stock pot, cover the turkey carcass with cold water (about four quarts), salt generously, and start heating. Coarsely chop the vegetables and add to the pot. Bring the pot to a simmer, lower the heat, and simmer for about two hours. Allow the stock to cool a bit. Strain and reserve. My batch yielded about 3 quarts of stock.