June 13, 2010

One Last Hurrah – Tortilla Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole

That’s how I felt when eating leftovers of this soup for lunch the other day. This is my last dairy hurrah. You see, a few weeks back, I embarked on a short-term dairy-free diet as a trial, to see if it was causing some lingering issues I was having. After two weeks, I didn’t notice a huge difference, but there was a difference. When I reintroduced it back into my diet, I tried to ignore the truth – that the dairy was making me sick. After all, I didn’t want to give it up – I am a huge fan of all things cheese and butter, and I was even singing the praises of raw milk just the other day. But as much as I love it, dairy doesn’t love me back. So this tortilla soup was my last dairy-containing meal, at least for a long while. You’ll see many recipes in the future that are not only gluten-free, but also dairy-free. (Of course, those of you who can eat dairy without incident are welcome to modify your recipes accordingly!)

This tortilla soup recipe is closely based off of a Quickfire Challenge I saw on Top Chef Masters a few weeks back. Chef Marcus Samuelsson prepared a chicken soup with crispy tortilla strips and goat cheese guacamole that had me drooling. I had to make it. So I visited the recipe found here and filled in the blanks, adjusting to my tastes. And even with the near-100 degree temperatures outside, this soup hit the spot – it was just a touch spicy, bursting with flavor, and the goat cheese guacamole was cooling and fresh.

If I was to make it again (and there will be an “again”), I’d have to modify it to be dairy-free, of course. I’d have to give up the goat cheese in the guacamole, and substitute either almond milk or coconut milk for the cream, but the flavors would still be there in full force. It’s a lovely tortilla soup – no wonder Chef Marcus Samuelsson did so well in Top Chef Masters!

 

Tortilla Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole, adapted from Marcus Samuelsson

For the guacamole:

1 T olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 avocados

Juice from 1 lime

2 T goat cheese

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 T cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper

Pour the olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Scoop the avocado flesh and add to bowl. Add goat cheese and smash the avocado, onion, garlic, and cheese together with a fork. Add in lime juice, jalapeno, bell pepper and cilantro and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the soup:

4 corn tortillas, cut into strips

Canola oil, for frying

1 red onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 quarts chicken stock

4 tomatoes, chopped

4 c shredded, cooked chicken (I used leftover grilled chicken)

1 1/2 t ground cumin

1 t salt

4 eggs

2 T cream

juice from 2 limes

1 T chopped green onions

1/2 T cilantro, chopped

In a skillet, heat about a half-inch of canola oil over medium heat. Fry tortilla strips in batches until crisp, about 1 minute, and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cumin, salt, and chicken and stir, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Ladle one or two spoonfuls of the hot soup mixture into the bowl while whisking, and whisk until incorporated. Then pour the egg mixture back into the soup, whisking until incorporated. Allow to cook for another minute, and then add lime juice and half of the green onions and cilantro.

Serve soup topped with the remaining green onions, cilantro, guacamole, and tortilla strips. Serves 4.

16 Responses to “One Last Hurrah – Tortilla Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole”

  1. I would love some for dinner. I love both goat cheese and guacamole.

  2. oh how I love tortilla soup, it is my favorite ‘hot weather’ soup – don’t know why, but I just love it any time of the year, maybe even in the summer with the limes or something, and the cool avocado dressing is a great twist … now I’m just going to have to get busy and start simmering me a hen (that’s how I start mine) – sorry ’bout the dairy, poor soul – hope it was treasured

  3. Aww you and me both, Alta. I love dairy, but it doesn’t love me back either. I also don’t notice a huge difference when I take it out, but then when I add it back it, I can tell it’s not making me feel good. I’ve been dairy free for 8 days now, and that’s pretty good for me! Now I just have to stick with it!

    Your last hurrah looks amazing!

  4. This recipe and your photograph really caught my eye! I would also love to try it, what a great idea to put goat cheese in the guacamole!

  5. Do you think you might be lactose intolerant? My dad became lactose intolerant many years ago, and was able to still eat dairy in smaller quantities if he took the Lactaid pill beforehand. Also, I’ve heard this intolerance can last for 7 years, but then goes away (like a 7 year cycle). Does all dairy affect you, or mostly just cow dairy, because I’ve also read that if one IS lactose intolerant (assuming that is the problem in your case), it’s mainly the cow dairy that causes it, not sheep and goat’s milk products. If that is the case, hopefully the goat cheese won’t upset your stomach so much? I really hope you can find a way to enjoy dairy again. Good luck and I hope you feel better!

  6. Very lovely tortilla soup, Alta! Giving up dairy seems so much harder than giving up gluten, doesn’t it? But, like you and Iris, I see the negative effects if I eat a little dairy. My doctor (alternative) told me that I could continue to eat organic butter, but I’m not even sure on that. I do find coconut milk to work well for many dairy needs though. BTW, I make a tortilla soup all the time that requires no dairy.

    Shirley

  7. I just love tortilla soup, and always with goat cheese…..goat cheese guacamole just kicks it up a notch!
    I hope going dairy free help you to feel better, its a tough loss, but well worth it to improve your health!

  8. Sorry to hear about the dairy issue. :( But as long as you’re feeling better that the important thing.

    Delicious soup!!!

  9. I’m sorry to hear about the issues with diary but like you said, it’s not the end of the world and its about learning to work around it. I wish you the best of luck and lets hope for many many more delicious recipes! :) Btw, who are you rooting for in Top Chef Masters?

  10. oh wow, that looks great!

  11. That sounds EXACTLY how I ended up giving up dairy as well… I didn’t want to admit it was giving me issues… but boy does it! I know it’s frustrating… but I’ve found that nut alternatives and things like Daiya do make life better! :-) And you’re so creative… you’ll have amazing dairy free recipes in a snap!

  12. I love Marcus Samuelsson, and in fact I’m heading to his restaurant Acquavit on Wednesday. This looks like a wonderfully savory delicious full flavored soup.

  13. I love the idea of adding goat cheese to the guacamole. I usually add feta to my tortilla soup with sliced avocado. This sounds wonderful. Sorry about the dairy thing ~

  14. Goat cheese guac! Wow, that really sounds delicious!! Well, I’m sorry, too about the dairy thing, but better to find out than to continue through life making yourself ill. Many times seems when you have one allergy you have more than one. Ugh. I know you will make the very best of it – and anything you cook! :)

  15. I, too, am dairy sensitive, so I carefully choose my dairy intake…but you might just find that goat cheese does not treat you as badly as things made from cows milk. Also, the “fake” milks like almond, soy, rice and whole-grain are a good substitute, and for breakfast cereal, add a dollop of nondairy creamer to make it look more like milk. Good luck!

  16. Pingback: Top Tasty Eats in 2010 « Tasty Eats At Home

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