Leticia Moreinos Schwartz has been a spokesperson for America's Diabetes Challenge for the past five years. Through the campaign, she travels across the nation doing recipe development, live events, cooking demos, satellite media tours, and more, all in the name of promoting healthy cooking!
She also sees first-hand the dietary problems that contribute to this and many other lifestyle diseases, particularly in the Hispanic community here in the U.S. and in Latin countries globally. Leticia grew up in Brazil, but quickly realized that once Latinos move to the U.S., their habits change for the worse, along with their health.
"We no longer shop at a farmers market or cook homemade meals. Instead, we shop at big chain stores and buy pre-packed foods. The road from a healthy Latin culture to the North American table became a tough one somewhere along the way," she said.
The good news is that maintaining a healthy diet has never been easier, precisely because of the influence of the Latin culture in this country. Award-winning author Leticia Schwartz will introduce you to new and improved Latin recipes to enjoy without compromising on flavor!
When I was in Los Cabos, Mexico, I ate a tortilla soup that was absolutely delicious, mildly spicy, and with a deep tomato flavor. The chicken breast is shredded thinly and becomes very silky swimming in the tomato soup. While you can make the soup with canned crushed tomatoes, I'd much rather use fresh tomatoes. I like using just a little bit of chipotle chile in adobo sauce; this way my kids enjoy as well (they'll eat spicy foods but in moderation). If you like your tortilla soup hotter than mine, feel free to use more than 2 chipotle chiles, or even a whole can. If you don't care to hunt for it, just substitute 2 tablespoons chipotle chile powder.
I usually keep this soup on the simple side, using chicken, queso-blanco, cilantro, and tortilla a garnishes, but you can be creative and go crazy with all of the extra stuff you can put in the soup: avocados, sour cream, or more cheese. You can serve the side dishes in small bowls and people can add whatever they want to the soup. It's a fun dish to eat!
Recipe: Tortilla Soup
Serves 4 to 6
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes (or a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes), roughly chopped
- 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 cooked chicken breasts shredded, about 2 1/2–3 cups
For the tortillas:
- 6 wheat-flour tortillas, cut into thin strips (about 1⁄2-inch)
- 1⁄4 cup canola oil for frying
For the garnish:
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
- 8 ounces queso fresco (or feta cheese)
1. Prepare the Soup: In a large saucepan, pour the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic until just lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the onions and mix, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, and cook until soft and
translucent, about 4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook, until they start to soften and mush down.
4. Add the chopped chipotles and mix well.
5. Pour the chicken stock and simmer the soup, covered, over low heat, checking occasionally, until the tomatoes are very soft, about 30 minutes.
6. In the meantime, fry the tortillas: In a nonstick skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the tortilla strips in batches, stirring, until golden and crisp. Be careful that the tortillas don't get too dark, or else they burn. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the tortillas to a plate lined with parchment paper. I like to sprinkle a little salt as they come out of the pan. Repeat the process until all tortillas are golden.
7. Check the soup and turn off the heat. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, until it's nice and smooth. If soup is way too hot for the blender, let the soup breathe for 5 minutes before pureeing.
8. At this point, you can either return the soup to the pan, or you can strain it to make sure is a bit
9. Pour the pureed soup back in the pot and simmer gently.
10. Add the shredded chicken and simmer until chicken is soft and tender, about 5 minutes.
11. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with queso-blanco, cilantro, and tortillas.
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