My wife loves a rich and spicy tortilla soup so I've been working on a go-to recipe I can make for her. There's lots of ingredients, so it can look intimidating, but it is actually really easy to put together. The smell of the soup cooking on the stove will also fill your house with anticipation for dinner! This recipe makes a ton of soup, but it is real easy to freeze the leftovers for easy meals in a week or two.
Make sure you start the soup at least 30 to 45 minutes before you want to serve it because it is better when it lightly simmers for at least 20 minutes, or even as long as an hour or so. There are both chipotle pepper powder and jalapeños in this dish. You can always omit them, reduce the amount, or double the amount, depending on how spicy you like your food to be!
I also call for chicken stock, and it is best if you use a high-quality stock, preferably homemade. It adds so much more body and richness than a store-bought broth; plus it's a lot more nutritious. And lastly, you can always skip the sour cream, cheese, and tortillas at the end, the soup will still be fantastic without them!
For lightly shredded pork, I like to sous vide a pork shoulder or pork butt at 156°F (68.9°C) for 18 to 24 hours, though you can go up to 176°F (80°C) for 12 hours for really fall apart pork.
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Preheat the water bath to 156°F (68.9°C).
If the pork shoulder is too large to fit into a bag, cut it into multiple pieces. Mix the spices together in a small bowl then coat the pork with them. Place the pork in a sous vide bag then seal. Place the bag in the water bath and cook the pork for 18 to 24 hours.
For more information on the cooking times you can read my detailed article which addresses why is there a range in sous vide cooking times.
Heat some oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, peppers, jalapeño and garlic to the oil and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and cornmeal. Bring to a simmer and let barely simmer uncovered for at least 20 minutes, and up to 60 minutes, for the vegetables to break down and the soup to reduce and thicken.
Take the sous vide bag out of the water and remove the cooked pork shoulder. Dry it off thoroughly with a paper towel or dish cloth. Quickly sear the pork for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until just browned, then remove from the heat. Shred the pork with a fork and tongs then lightly salt it. You can add the pork juices to the tortilla soup for extra porky flavor.
Place a ladle or two of tortilla soup into a bowl. Add a handful of the shredded pork. Top with the avocados, tortilla strips, cheddar cheese, and jalapeño slices. Sprinkle with the cilantro, add a dollop of sour cream and serve with a lime wedge on the side.
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