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Monday, June 18, 2012

“Soup Seminar, Pt. XXVIII: Chicken-Tortilla Soup—one of the Best of the Best of the Modern, Popularized Theme Soups—perfect at every Fast Food Chain and Restaurant—and your Home, too!” by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall



Today, we continue offering albums by one of the all-time greatest rock bands to have come out of Los Angeles in the 1960’s—SPIRIT! Please go to Amazon.com and buy their SECOND album, “The Family that plays Together,” which was and still is awesome!  Released on ODE Records in 1968 as was yesterday's freshman release previously mentioned, this is one of the best rock albums of all time.  Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.  



COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR…


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 187 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!



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Chef James “Jimmy” Hall

END Commentary 06-19-2012

Copyright © 2012 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,231.



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Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Tuesday, June 19, 2012 by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall

SOUP SEMINAR, PT XXVIII—CHICKEN-TORTILLA SOUP

 Soup Seminar, Pt. XXVIII: Chicken-Tortilla Soup—one of the Best of the Best of the Modern, Popularized Theme Soups—perfect at every Fast Food Chain and Restaurant—and your Home, too!” by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall



Bakersfield, CA, 06-19-2012 T: Today is an interesting day as it is first, the 575th Blog Post of the New Elemental News of the Day and second, my 20th blog post for the END.  I used to write for the original blog, which was shut down by the government in mid-2010 as a test for the government’s ability as to whether or not they could take (temporary) control of the Internet in times of an emergency.  So, what did they do? They shut down some of the lesser blogs around the Net just to do it and to see if anyone complained which largely, they did NOT.  Now, that’s a bad thing when the government can tell a host to shut down this or that blog because what we will it attempt to do next.  Knock off the big people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (two people with whom I DON’T agree by the way)?  That’s a scary thing but currently, nothing is out of the realm of possibility!  I mean., what might happen around the election if let’s say, the current administration were to suddenly say that Iran is threatening the nation and shut down the Internet for an unspecified amount of time (like let’s say, right after the election?).  These are frightening times, friends, and it’s important that every American has access to the Internet, the radio, and television unrestricted. 

Well, I had better not say much more as I certainly do not want poor Stinkbug having his SECOND blog shut down by the government or by our host, Google, who has been very good to us and has kept us going strong.  We love Google, they love us, and that’s exactly how we want to keep it and hope that you continue telling them how wonderful we are! 

Okay, today we will make a soup that I created years ago and take credit for and which has gone across the nation at light-speed.   Chicken-Tortilla Soup is a classic, it’s one that the restaurant chains like Applebee’s and the Roadhouse Grill and a whole host of others have embraced wholeheartedly and produce night after night after night!  Even places like El Torito® and other Mexican restaurants have glommed onto it and put it on their menus, as do fine-dining rooms, hotels, country clubs, and regular run-of-the-mill restaurants.  The reason they’ve all come to love it is let’s face it: people love Mexican food, they love pseudo-Mexican food, they love “Gringo Mexican Food” so if that’s what they want, and then so be it.  Every time I drive into Bakersfield, I’m amazed at all of the Mexican restaurants that litter the place.  Besides the honest-to-God, ethnic places such as the Arizona Café and others, there are Dos Hermanos, El Pollo Loco, and a whole bunch of theme joints serving all sorts of variations of Mexican food that most TRUE Mexicans would sneer at.  However, if that’s what they want, then so the hell be it!

This soup is a tasty one made with chicken or turkey in a spicy broth and then served atop freshly deep-fried tortilla chips.  It is then smothered in sour cream and grated cheese, gratineed and then served piping hot to the clientele.  Delicious, it’s a classic and what makes it better is the salsa we’ll serve alongside it.  If you’re ready, let’s get it on:

(#557) CHICKEN AND TORTILLA SOUP



Chicken and Tortilla Soup is one of the more recent popular soups that can be found in all of the “in-the-groove” places like Applebee’s, Coco’s, and a whole host of others across the nation.  Originally, I created it back in the day and once I took it to several different states and ran it on the menus at various places, it exploded across the nation.  This is a delicious soup, it combines spice with flavor and is showy to boot!  People tend to love this sort of soup and it never fails to sell out by the end of the night.

Yield:  about 8-cups  / Mis-en-place: 45-60 minutes:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
2
Cups
Diced cooked chicken (or turkey)

2
Quarts
Chicken broth

1
Cup
Diced celery

2
Cups
Diced yellow onions

1
Tablespoon
Minced garlic

1
Cup
Diced green Anaheim chili peppers (canned)

1
Cup
Heavy cream

2
Cups
Frozen corn kernels

1.5
Teaspoons
Mexican whole oregano

.5
Teaspoon
Ground cumin

1.5
Teaspoons
Gebhart’s red chili powder

.0125
Teaspoon
Cayenne pepper

1
Tablespoon
Kosher salt

1
Teaspoon
White pepper

Roux slurry to thicken the soup

The Finish:
1
Cup
Grated Monterey jack cheese

1
Cup
Sour cream

Freshly deep-fried corn tortilla chips

Spanish paprika

Freshly minced cilantro




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work! This soup is made in a slightly different way so pay attention to the differences.  First of all, it’s important to have roux slurry to thicken the soup at the end of cooking time, as we aren’t going to formulate the roux first.  Always melt butter and do so in a heavy-bottomed saucepot sprayed with PAM or with some such other food release spray.  Never allow it to scorch! Stir all-purpose flour into it until it’s moderately thickened and then lower the flame and cook it for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly, until its “blond” and puffed up. 

a.      The alternate way to do this is to prepare it the same way (combining the flour and butter over a low flame) and then transferring it to a 375°F standard oven and cooking it for 15-20 minutes.  Cover it with a piece of wax paper but stir around occasionally while it cooks.  This way, it allows you to do other things without having to watch and to stir it almost constantly.  It also develops a better flavor and will add a great deal of additional flavor to your finished product whether it is soup or sauce.

2.      Combine the first FOURTEEN ingredients in a large saucepot sprayed with PAM or some such other food release spray and place over a medium flame.  Allow it to come to a high simmer and keep there for 15-20 minutes.  During this time, it will develop flavor.

3.      Bring your roux out and if too thick, add some additional melted butter and return it to medium heat.  Cook until the butter’s been incorporated and the roux is pourable.  It should be more like slurry for easy combining.  When both the soup and the roux are hot, raise the heat under the soup pot to full and begin whisking the roux-slurry into it.  Don’t stop until a lump-free soup has formed and then after a minute of constant stirring while boiling, drop the flame to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes—this will cook out the flavor of the flour (if it hasn’t already been) and will tighten the soup.  Keep it warm in the top of a double boiler or Bain Marie.

4.      This soup is a popular one in foodservice with the customers but is a pain for the cooks, as they have to do a second part, which normally, they do NOT.  When it’s time to serve the soup, the servers place freshly cooked deep-fried corn tortilla chips in the bottom of the soup cup or bowl, fill it up with soup, and then set it up in the hot window where they call one of the line or pantry cooks to finish it.  That cook comes over, takes it, and then tops it with sour cream and grated cheese.  He or she then places it underneath the overhead Salamander oven and quickly melts it and then garnishes it with paprika and freshly minced cilantro and returns it to the hot window.  The server then trays it out to the waiting diners.

a.      At home, this part of the process is not a problem because you use your overhead broiler but in the restaurant business, anything that requires extra work like finishing the soup is a burden to both the server and the cook but it is what it is. 

5.      Leftovers should always be chilled to below 45°F as quickly as possible and then transferred to a sanitized airtight container for storage.  As it’s a broth soup, it will keep fresh under refrigerated conditions for 4-5 days but like all foods, should be used sooner rather than later.  Always reheat to 165°F or higher to prevent any possibility of foodborne illness as it is the chef’s duty to protect the health of their customers—never fail in this!

Like all things “Mexican” (at least food-wise), this is a popular soup found in many different foodservice establishments whether they are country club, hotel, institution, or coffee shop.  It’s been popular for the past 20 years so give it a shot and enjoy!

Now, salsa is where it’s at for many diners in Mexican and even non-Mexican restaurants so here’s one of the Elemental News of the Day’s best tomato salsas, Fresh Tomato Salsa.  Be sure to make it fresh every single day as that, my friends, is what knocks ‘em out time after time! If you’re ready, let’s make it and then we’ll conclude today’s post:

(#360) FRESH TOMATO SALSA



Anyone can buy salsa but everyone needs to know how to make their own and to do it with FRESH products, not canned stuff.  This one is just that: it’s made with the freshest ingredients, tastes great, and will keep for 3-4 days at most.  It is important to be able to go into the kitchen and utilize the appropriate ingredients rather than to reach for a jar or worse—a can of store-bought salsa—and to make it! This one will leave you breathless and your friends and family stunned: they never knew you had it in you!

Yield: 2 cups / Mis-en-place: about 20 minutes:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
1.25
Cups
Diced roma tomatoes (3/16 cut)

.25
Cup
Diced red onions (1/4” cut)

.25
Bunch
Cilantro, chopped

.75
Teaspoon
Diced jalapenos (1/8” cut)

1.5
Teaspoons
Minced garlic

2
Tablespoons
Lime juice

1.5
Teaspoons
Kosher salt

.25
Cup
Olive oil

3
Drops
Tabasco sauce




Method:

1.      Combine all ingredients together in a sanitized container and label, date, and refrigerate.  Use for no longer than 4-5 days.

This is the perfect tomato salsa for all your Mexican/Latino needs.  You will love it!

--------------------------------------------

As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this, as it’s a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will become dedicated followers of the END.  Currently of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession are heard—join us. We urge our readership to write to us, leave comments, and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

Day Number Two has come and gone and then in two days, we will mention the fact that it’s HUMP DAY as I’ve received the same bulletin that everyone else has received after new blogger, Itzi Nakamura, almost had to do a second week because she failed to mention it.  Yes, it’s that big of a tradition around here that if one fails to do so now, they’re doomed to do a second week.  NO one wants to do that!  I do hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and I do look forward to hearing from you at the PO Box in Bakersfield, CA.  We love hearing from our readership and want you to begin leaving comments, as it is important to the health and well-being of the blog!                                     

Anyhow, let us close with this impassioned plea—please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by SPIRIT and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com—we want to make some money here so help us out by buying something!  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!  

Thank you!

Jimmy Hall

James Hall

Cook III, CWC, ACF, CA273 Santa Barbara ACF chapter and HI033 Maui Chef’s and Cook’s Association

______________________________________________________________________
This is me as a chef during the 1980's when we took a group photograph for a Chefs de Cuisine yearbook. At the time, I was working at a hotel in Bakersfield, CA, down on Union Avenue. It was still somewhat nice and the area was still the original "restaurant row" of the city. Now, I am in my sixties and am working over in Santa Barbara, CA, as a food and beverage director for a country club.

Chef James “Jimmy” Hall writes from Santa Barbara, CA.

---30---

The END Commentary for Tuesday, June 19, 2012 by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was written by the one-and-only Chef James “Jimmy” Hall.



Recipe created by Chef James “Jimmy” Hall on October 26, 1997 in Bakersfield, CA.

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1 comment:

  1. You know, I enjoy this post by my good friend, Chef Jimmy Hall, I mean, who the heck does not love tortilla soup, right? I know I do as should all of you so folks, check this recipe out, try it at home and let us know what you think of it—I think it is amazing!

    ReplyDelete

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