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Hotel Bel-Air Tortilla Soup

Source: Hotel Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, California

Serves 10 to 12.

This robust soup is such a longstanding staple of the Bel-AIR dining room that, for many years, regulars of the Restaurant would eat this as their daily lunch,

Though it cooks in about an hour, you may make the soup the night before if you like, reheating it just before serving. Present the broth in a tureen with the garnishes on the side for guests to serve themselves.

1/2 pound corn tortillas
1 ounce chili powder
1/2 ounce cayenne pepper
1 ounce paprika
1 ounce cumin
1 head garlic
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound onions, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro
8 tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces tomato puree
Juice of 2 limes
6 quart chicken stock
1/4 cup peanut oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add tortilla pieces and fry until slightly crisp. Add the herbs and spices. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 1/2hours.

Strain through a fine strainer; add the limejuice and season to taste. Cool and keep refrigerated. Serve piping hot with fried tortilla strips, diced avocado, grilled chicken breast strips, chopped cilantro and grated cheese on the side.



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