Another Cooking Experiment for Truck Camping

A powdered  tortilla soup mix (Bare Creek Country Kitchens) plus fried corn tortillas was tonight’s experiment. It did not look promising from the ingredient label. The number one ingredient was pinto beans. (In tortilla soup?) The dried vegetables never did rehydrate even after simmering the soup for 20 minutes. The tomatoes had the consistency of old tasteless caramel.

Still, it was cheap.  (~$.44/serving)  The taste was bland, so I tossed in chipotle powder, salt, Texas Pete and strips of fried tortillas. If I had a lime that would have been added. Still not good.  That mix was sub par.
How about doing it more along the lines of Rick Bayless with adaptations for truck camping?  No refrigeration. One burner. Hmm.

I trust Rick Bayless’s recipe:

INGREDIENTS (change proportions for a can of chicken)

1 large dried pasilla (negro) chile, stemmed and seeded (How about chipotle powder?)
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted) (How about a tomato?)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick (A leek might be the right size.)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts chicken broth (There are concentrates.)
1 large epazote sprig, if you have one (I don’t)
4 (about 1 1/4 pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (Can of chicken)
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (like Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar (Whatever cheese is on hand.)
A generous 4 cups (about 6 ounces) roughly broken tortilla chips
1/2 cup Mexican crema (There are tiny cans of crema) or sour cream  for garnish (Who needs garnish truck camping?) 
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving

Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until its aroma fills the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.) Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chile.) ( Mix  and smash the chipotle powder and the  tomatoes with fork in bowl  until you get bored.)

Heat the oil in a medium (4-quart) tiny saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes.  (Cook faster.) Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender. Process until smooth. (Smash onions and garlic  in saucepan  with the back of the fork.)

Return the pan to medium-high heat. When quite hot, add the puree smashed tomatoes and chipotle, and stir nearly constantly, until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. (Cook faster.) Add the broth and epazote, if using. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. (Cook faster.) Taste and season with salt.
Just before serving, add the (can of) chicken to the simmering broth. Divide the avocado, cheese and tortilla chips between serving bowls. When the chicken is done, usually about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls. Garnish with the crema.  Pass  Squeeze the lime separately in the soup.

It seems possible. One pot cooking. No pinto beans. No disodium guanylate either. Or Yellow #6. Or corn syrup solids. Or …

I will cost out and taste test the adapted Rick Bayless Tortilla Soup in the next few weeks.

I had to try it out sooner than next week. 1 tomato, chipotle powder, 1/2 an onion, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, chicken broth and a handful of turkey left over from Christmas. Wonderful. Second helping I added small pieces of no-boil lasagna. So good. Very easy. As quick or quicker than the powdered soup. More clean up, but worth it. I would like to have fresh garlic, chips and avocado. I think I could do this with tvp and veggies. I will buy all of the ingredients and cost it out.

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