Menu 36: Sopa de Tortilla and Arroz con Pollo

The hosts for June are Tammy and Greg from The Foodie Couple.  Have you checked out their blog? It’s awesome.  They always giving you the perfect wine pairing for each recipe they post and  since they have joined Gutsy Cooks, my kitchen corner devoted to wine has gotten a bit robust with their suggestions.  And along with their high suggestions of wine brands, the follow suit with their Gutsy Cook menu selections to kick off June recipes.  I’m really loving this week’s choices, mainly because one of the recipe  is dear to my heart - I dare you to guess which one? 

  • Sopa de Tortilla - page 115
  • Arroz con pollo - page 294

First up is Sopa de Tortilla, or Tortilla Soup, which is a Mexican classic, according to my south of the border friends.  The nearly ubiquitous soup now refers to almost any brothy concoction that is garnished with crispy tortilla strips, chiles, and cheese.  Variations are expected based on the different regions, cooks, family recipes and what is at hand in the Kitchen.  I first came across it when one of my co-workers joined my cooking club and brought her mom and she took over my kitchen and made this as our Mexican Fiesta Night menu.  My house never smelled as good.  She had me, along with 10 other, at their edge of their seat waiting for these bowls full of goodness.  Plus is always fun to mix and match what you want to put on the soup.

Looking at the TKB recipe, I can recommend two things - First really try using the Queso Fresco, instead of the other option of ricotta salata as the cheese, today, most local supermarkets have a good selection of Mexican cheeses in their Latin section and you will have no trouble finding this cheese.  The second is to make sure the tortillas that you are using are from the day before, my friends mama told me that they need to be a bit old - but then she brought freshly made tortillas that she made the day before, so it may be a wash if you buy the ready-made or you can really go Gutsy on the group and try your hand in making them fresh, this is a good place to start  and if you are visual like me, do a search under “making fresh tortilla” and find video after video to help you along with the steps.

The next recipe is Arroz con Pollo - Chicken and Rice.  And if you guess that this one was my hear recipe, you were right.  My mom is famous for her Arroz con Pollo. In the Latin home, everyone’s mom knows how to make Arroz con Pollo, but my mom’s is the undisputed best ever. There are millions of ways to make this dish, with each country and region laying claim to a different “authentic” variety.  And if you have any Latin friends, I bet you they will swear up and down that theirs is the most authentic and the most delicious.  They are wrong.  My mom’s recipe is the most delicious. It just is.

At this point you are probably shouting at the screen - SHARE IT!  I will, eventually.  But this week I will make the TKB version and see if it even comes close.

The only tip I can give you here, is replace the very expensive Saffron with Annato [Achiote] seeds, which taste great, gives you a beautiful color and will save your wallet. Paprika is unnecessary when Annato is used. Once more scout your supermarket Latin section and you will find it in the spice isle. The seeds can be added directly to a cooking liquid or infused in hot water until the desired color is obtained and then used for stocks or coloring rice. It is also common to fry the seeds in oil (my way of doing it) for a few minutes (best done in a covered pan as the hot seeds jump), then discard the seeds and use the bright yellow/orange oil. Try using one teaspoon of seeds to 4 tablespoons of oil.

So there you have it.  Since I will be without a kitchen over the weekend, I will be posting my GCC a bit late in the game.  For the rest of you, put on that Latin hat and go gutsy on us!