The other day I was craving Aztec soup from Los Mariachis, my favorite Mexican restaurant here in Brooklyn, but actually going there didn’t seem like a possibility. Actually going outside and getting ingredients for it wasn’t appealing either. So I improvised.
Los Mariachis’ Aztec soup consists of a tomato base, lots of spices, tortilla crisps and diced avocado. My soup didn’t turn out to be what I was craving but it was equally as, if not more so, awesome. There are tomatoes and avocados in my version too but instead of tortilla, I decided to make Parmesan crisps. I also added bacon because, well, it’s bacon.
*This was my first time making Parmesan crisps so they weren’t ideal. I made them far too thick so instead of gracefully floating in the soup, they kind of sank in it. But, they did do their job of providing the salty, crunchy element.
(Yield: 6 servings)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 strips bacon, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
14 oz crushed tomatoes
3 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 heaping tsp corn starch
2 avocadoes, diced
About ½ c grated Parmesan cheese
Procedure: Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add oil and bacon. Render fat out of bacon and cook until crispy, about 4 min. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Add onion to pot, with a pinch of salt, and cook until translucent, about 2 min. Then add carrots, celery, bell pepper, garlic and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables until softened, about 6 min. Then add tomatoes and chicken broth, raise heat to high, cover tightly with a lid, and bring to a boil. Then crack lid, turn heat down to low and simmer for 30 min.
Remove from heat and blend with immersion blender until smooth. Return to heat and bring back to simmer. Re-season if necessary. In a small dish, stir corn starch with 1 tbsp of water. Add to soup and cook for another 3 min.
Procedure for crisps: Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with silicone pad (or aluminum foil and non-stick spray). Pour a heaping tbsp of cheese on sheet and pat down lightly. Repeat with remaining cheese – ½ c should make about 6 crisps. Cook for 6 min, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.