Upgrade The Flavor Of Your Tortilla Soup With One Simple Step

Overhead photo of a bowl of tortilla soup
Overhead photo of a bowl of tortilla soup - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Tortilla soup: a classic, comforting dish that warms the soul. But sometimes, even traditional dishes can benefit from an upgrade. Fortunately, there's a simple step to transform your soup from good to extraordinary. Now, you might already be frying strips of corn tortillas in oil before adding them to the soup, but are you keeping that oil to use as a base? This technique adds delicious crunch and infuses the soup with a rich, toasty flavor by caramelizing the sugars in the corn tortillas, creating a flavorful base.

To upgrade your soup, follow these simple steps. Start by cutting a corn tortilla into thin strips. Heat a neutral oil like safflower oil over medium-high heat in a skillet or frying pan until it's hot but not smoking. Pay attention, as the correct temperature is crucial for achieving crispy tortilla strips without burning them. Carefully add the tortilla strips to the pan in batches, ensuring that they are evenly spaced. Fry them until they're golden brown and crispy -- about two to three minutes per batch.

The oil used for frying becomes infused with the essence of toasted corn, adding an extra layer of richness. Be sure to reserve the oil in your pot! This is your flavor gold. Use it to sauté your onions, garlic, and other aromatics for your soup base. Then, add your broth, diced tomatoes, spices, and desired proteins or vegetables. The oil will release all the delicious toasted tortilla notes, enriching your broth. Let the soup simmer and develop flavors for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

Read more: 21 Delicious Ways To Use Up Leftover Rice

Unleash Hidden Depths Of Flavor

Hands holding a bowl of tortilla soup
Hands holding a bowl of tortilla soup - Fertnig/Getty Images

Now that you've completed the basics, here are some additional tips. Although you can use store-bought tortillas, making your own (corn or flour) can add an extra element of freshness. Choose a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like canola, safflower, or vegetable oil. When frying the tortilla strips, avoid overcrowding the pan, which can lead to uneven cooking and soggy strips. Also, be mindful of the frying time to prevent the strips from burning.

Just before serving your soup, stir in the crispy fried tortilla strips. This step lets them maintain their crunch while soaking up the flavorful broth. Serve your upgraded tortilla soup garnished with fresh cilantro, diced avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, and a dollop of sour cream or Mexican crema for a finishing touch. You can also add a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a spoonful of salsa, or a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick.

With this simple technique, your tortilla soup goes from basic to gourmet. By incorporating fried tortilla strips and their cooking oil into your tortilla soup recipe, you'll elevate the flavor profile and create a dish that's sure to impress. The combination of crunchy textures, deeper flavors, and aromatic spices will make each spoonful a sensory delight. Try this simple yet impactful technique in this easy slow cooker recipe for chicken tortilla soup and experience its exciting difference!

Read the original article on Tasting Table