Tortilla soup is equally wonderful as an appetizer or as a meal all on its own. Ground pork sausage and a number of delicious seasonings make this soup extra special.
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1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 bell peppers, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 pound pork sausage, casings removed
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
Vegetable oil, for frying
Six 4-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 lime wedges, plus 4-6 more for serving
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 medium ears)
Shredded Monterey jack or crumbled queso fresco
How to Make It
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat until the onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the jalapeño and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, oregano, paprika, cayenne, red pepper, salt, a few turns of black pepper and the sausage; cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet over moderate heat until shimmering. Fry the tortilla strips in batches for 3 minutes, until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel and immediately sprinkle with salt and squeeze with lime.
When the soup is finished simmering, gently stir in the corn.
Ladle into bowls and serve with tortilla strips, lime wedges, diced avocado, sour cream, fresh cilantro and shredded Monterey jack or crumbled queso fresco.
The soup and tortilla strips can be made the day before. Garnish directly before serving.
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