On a Mission for Soup

DEAR SOS: I recently dined in the Spanish Dining Room of Riverside's Mission Inn and enjoyed a deliciously tangy tortilla soup. Might you be able to obtain the recipe?


DEAR JULLANE: Joe D. Cochran, Jr., the executive chef at Mission Inn, sent us this recipe. It's loaded with ingredients, including an off-beat addition of V-8 Juice.


1 1/2 teaspoons butter

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, diced

1 (6-ounce) can mixed vegetable-juice cocktail

2 tablespoons chicken stock

2 cups hot water

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon paprika

Pinch chili powder

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

6 (6-inch) tortillas

Frying oil

1 cup diced avocado

2 cups diced grilled chicken breast

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Heat butter and olive oil in heavy saucepan until butter melts. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add tomatoes and continue to cook until soft. Add jalapeno and mixed vegetable juice. Bring to boil and add stock and hot water. Bring to simmer. Add cumin, paprika, chili powder, white pepper and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste and 1/4 cup cilantro and cook, stirring occasionally.

Mix cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water, then stir into tomato mixture and simmer until liquid is shiny, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut tortillas into 1x1/2-inch strips or cubes and deep-fry in hot oil. Remove and drain.

To serve, distribute 1/2 cup avocado, 1 cup chicken breast, 1/8 cup chopped cilantro and half tortilla strips among 6 bowls. Pour hot soup over garnish and top with remaining avocado, chicken breast, chopped cilantro and tortilla strips. Pass grated Cheddar on side.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

347 calories; 526 mg sodium; 46 mg cholesterol; 20 grams fat; 27 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams protein; 2.78 grams fiber.

Fudging It Again

DEAR SOS: Please reprint the recipe for Vanilla Fudge. So good.


DEAR MARY: Happily.


2 cups evaporated milk

6 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup marshmallow cream

3/4 cup chopped whole almonds

1 cup tiny chocolate pieces

Combine milk, sugar, salt and butter in 4-quart saucepan. Mix thoroughly. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, to 236 degrees on candy thermometer or until candy forms soft ball when dropped into cold water. (Full rolling boil should be maintained throughout).

Remove from heat. Cool at room temperature without stirring until lukewarm. Blend in vanilla extract. Work in marshmallow cream and almonds, stirring until candy mixture loses its gloss. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate pieces. Quickly spread in greased 12x7-inch pan. Let cool.

Makes about 5 pounds, about 5 dozen pieces.

Each piece contains about:

111 calories; 53 mg sodium; 5 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 19 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.07 gram fiber.

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