Only a few official days of summer left and then we are on to fall. The subtle reminders are there: cooler evenings, the displays of pumpkins and colorful mums at the entrances of grocery stores, and the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks; all clues that we are making the transition into a new season.
Here in the south though, the days can remain quite warm for a while yet, which tends to leave me feeling a bit confused about what I want to eat. On the super warm days I am still content with summer food: something right off the grill with crisp garden ready veggies still do the trick. But then when we have a few nights that get chilly, and days that aren’t so scorching hot, I’m not really sure what I’m in the mood for.
On those cooler days, the first thing I start to think about is soup. Not the stick-to-your-ribs kinds of soups, but definitely something warm and satisfying.
In comes my Tomatillo Bisque. I have been making this soup for years. I often serve it as a first course in the winter months as a lead into a southwestern menu, and sometimes I make it with some added chicken and enjoy it for lunch or dinner all on its own like I’ve done here.
This soup is nice and light, with some really good tang from the tomatillos and lime crema…and of course I love the crispy tortilla strip garnish!
You’ll find fresh tomatillos in the produce section of your grocery store. To check for freshness, look for firm tomatillos with tight fitting paper like husks. You’ll want to keep them refrigerated (unlike tomatoes) until ready to use.
Tomatillos are a key ingredient for green sauces in Mexican and Central American cuisine, but they are also offer fantastic flavor for soup!
- 16 ounces tomatillos, husked, washed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1½ tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- ½ cup chopped cilantro, divided
- 1 serrano chile, chopped
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 4 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
- Canola oil for frying tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced (for garnish)
- Lime Crema
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- Place tomatillos on a baking sheet and broil until lightly charred and softened, about 15 minutes. Remove blistered skin from tomatillos and discard, reserving tomatillos.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and salt, and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, oregano, 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, and the chile; continue to cook, stirring frequently, an additional 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Dissolve corn starch in a little cold water and add to the soup and continue to simmer an additional 2 minutes to thicken. Cool soup slightly. Add roasted tomatillos to soup and puree, using an immersion blender, or process in mixer in batches.
- (Soup may be prepared 1 day ahead and reheated.)
- Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with *crispy tortilla strips, chicken, diced tomatoes, a dollop of *lime crema and remaining cilantro.
- *Crispy Tortilla Strips:
- Fill a large cast iron skillet with 1-inch of canola oil and heat to 350 degrees over medium high heat. Add tortilla strips, and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towel lined plate. (May be fried 1 day ahead.)
- For Lime Crema: whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.