Corn soup Mexican Style

I was in the mood for a flavorful chunky soup to accompany our taco dinner. Mexican style sounded good, so I winged it using stuff I have at home. It’s really an easy soup that only takes 10 minutes of preparation. And it comes out delicious. We enjoyed it so much so now we have a new keeper.

Ingredients:
2 tbs oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans sweet corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbs chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced
3 cups water
2 tbs chicken soup powder
½ tsp thyme
1 tbs ground coriander seeds
Salt
Pepper
1 cup chopped cilantro
Plantain/tortilla chips (optional)

Preparation:
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onion until golden brown.

Add the corn including the liquid, the diced tomatoes with the juice, the chipotle, water, and spices.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Using a hand blender, partially blend the soup, leaving almost half the content chunky.

Add the chopped cilantro and top with some crunchy plantain or tortilla chips before serving.

Easy Rice Pilaf Tex-Mex

Sometimes you want to eat well but you don’t feel like thinking too much or spending time and effort in the kitchen. This is when this dish comes in handy. Not to mention that it is really delicious, so you don’t really need excuses to make it. I like to eat it as is, but it is a great side dish for grilled meats and chicken.

Ingredients:
3 tbs oil
2 cups rice
1 cup canned corn
1 cup salsa
2 cups water
Salt
Black pepper

Preparation:
In a medium pot, heat the oil. Add the rice and sauté it for a few minutes until the rice starts smelling nutty.

Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, lower the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes.

Homemade Corn Tortillas

When we go out to eat, we’re always on the look-out for small Mom and Pop, hole-in-the-wall places where the food is authentic and usually of a much better quality than the big chains. However, unfortunately for us, although we may very much enjoy the meal, we can’t stop thinking that we could easily make some of the dishes at home and they would taste just as good. And when we try at home, and the dish actually comes out the way we like them, we don’t feel the need to eat out anymore (unless I don’t feel like working). Sometimes it feels like shooting myself in the foot…

When it comes to Mexican food, which we all love, there are some staples that we’ve already mastered at home, such as guacamole, salsa, and pico de gallo, and our own bean, fish, and meat fillings for tacos. Thank God there is so much more to Mexican food than just tacos. It gives us a reason to leave the house and enjoy other dishes that we don’t make at home. Until recently, the only obstacle to having our own perfect taco dinner at home were good corn tortillas. All the store-bought corn tortillas I’ve tried aren’t as good as the tortillas you get at decent Mexican restaurants. So I decided to try and make corn tortillas at home.

I prepared in advance for making tortillas at home and picked a day when I wasn’t super busy, thinking it would be a big project. But it wasn’t. I used Bob’s Red Mill masa harina, and followed the recipe on the back of the bag. It was so easy to make and we enjoyed it so much, that I have decided to make it more often.

I made a double batch, planning on freezing or refrigerating some of the tortillas for another time, but before I knew it, they were all gone. Even my youngest son, who would not touch store bought tortillas, had three of them and asked for more. Success!

Just a side note – when I tried to make tortillas again, I bought masa harina at a Mexican grocery, thinking that it would probably taste better than Bob’s Red Mill. I was wrong. Not only didn’t it taste better, but also it was stickier and harder to work with. So I’m back to Bob’s Red Mill. The recipe here works for this flour. If you buy masa harina of a different brand, follow the instructions on the package instead, for best results.

Corn Tortillas – makes 12 tortillas

Ingredients:
2 cups Golden Masa Harina Corn Flour
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1-1/2 to 2 cups Hot Water

Preparation:
Mix salt into the masa harina corn flour. Slowly pour the water into the dough to get a good consistency. The dough should be firm and springy when touched, not dry or sticky. Let rest for about an hour, covered.

tortilla balls

Preheat a griddle or a cast iron pan. Divide the dough into 2 inch balls.

Press each dough ball between two pieces of waxed paper. You can either use a tortilla press, or if you do not have one, use a heavy skillet or a heavy dish instead. Just make sure that your ball of dough is placed between two pieces of wax paper so that it doesn’t stick to the dish or the work surface.

tortilla flattening

Place the flattened dough on a hot griddle or in a heavy pan, and cook until the top of the tortilla starts to look cooked, about 30-45 seconds. Flip to the other side and heat for a few seconds.

tortilla cooking
tortilla pile

Pile the tortillas on a plate, and cover with a towel. Serve them warm with your favorite variety of fillings such as grilled fish, sautéed ground beef, refried beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, etc. Corn tortillas tend to dry very quickly, so you should eat them while they are still fresh and warm, or place them in a sealed bag and freeze.