Over a week ago, I took a cheese making course with Debra Amrein-Boyes from The Farm House Natural Cheeses. She was very passionate and makes some mighty fine cheeses. The class was fun and very educating. Her Goat Gouda was my favorite tasting cheese that she shared with us that day.
The class gave me a bit of confidence with cheese making. I even bought Debra`s cheese making book: 200 easy Homemade Cheese Recipes. I found it fascinating that whole milk can be transformed into so many variations of cheeses. Basically it comes down to science and how it is processed (heating temperature, fermentation of bacteria, coagulation and draining).
This week, I decided to make Queso Fresco with goats milk (since I am a tad sensitive to casein in cows milk) and what a perfect opportunity to combine it with a tortilla soup! Queso Fresco is probably one of the simplest soft cheeses to make. I was very surprised on how easy it was and how good the results were. This blog post has two sections; first is the ingredients and instructions for the tortilla soup and second; how I made the yummy Queso Fresco.
The Verdict of Chicken Tortilla Soup with Goat Queso Fresco? I really adore this soup because of the variety of tasty elements in it. Especially having chunks of corn made it look very rustic to me. Although it was time consuming to make the homemade tortillas as well as the Queso Fresco – it was well worth it. I am sure I would make this again in future. The Queso Fresco is good for up to two weeks and you can use on top of other soups or even salads. I would not suggest to add the tortillas in the pot of soup as they would get soggy for leftovers (that is if you have any left over). Keep the tortilla pieces in a paper bag until you make your next bowl of left over soup. Also, this soup is not super spicy. For those soup-a-holics who like it hot, add in a little more chiles!
Chicken Tortilla Soup with Goat Queso Fresco Ingredients
- 7 Roma tomatoes, halved
- 1 white onion, cut into chunks
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 fresh poblano chiles
- 6 6-inch corn tortillas cut into strips
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 7 cups chicken broth
- 8 ounces roasted chicken, shredded
- 2 corn husks
- 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup Queso Fresco
- 1/4 cup lime juice, plus thin wedges for garnish
- 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and cubed
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Chicken Tortilla Soup with Goat Queso Fresco Instructions:
- Preheat oven to 425 F (210 C). Place tomatoes, corn (still in husks), onion and garlic on a tin foil covered baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until tomatoes and onion are soft and garlic begin to brown. Remove from heat.
- Stem and seed chile peppers; cut crosswise into ½ inch slices. In medium skillet, heat the ¼ cup of canola oil over medium heat until very hot and not smoking. Add the sliced chiles and fry for about 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon or thongs, remove the chile peppers and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate. Chop and and reserve chiles for soup. Reserve oil in skillet.
- Working in batches, fry the tortilla strips in the chile infused oil until the strips start to brown. Drain tortilla strips and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add 5 roasted tomatoes (keeping two aside), onion, garlic, cumin, one cup of stock into large pot. Using a hand blender, blend until the mixture is smooth.
- Roughly chop the 2 left over roasted tomatoes. Add into the soup.
- Add the rest of broth and chopped chile peppers to soup.
- Cook soup over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Husk corn and take off cob.
- Add roasted shredded chicken, corn and beans. Simmer for 5 more minutes; add lime juice, stir, cover and keep warm.
- Ladle soup in bowls
- Add tortilla strips, Queso Fresco, lime wedge, avocado, and cilantro.
Goat Queso Fresco Ingredients:
- 1 gallon whole goat milk (avoid homogenized or ultra-pasteurized)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
Goat Queso Fresco Instructions:
- In a 6 quart dutch oven or heavy stock pot (Important: do not use aluminum pot), combine milk and salt. Heat mixture over medium-high heat to 190 F (use a quick read thermometer) stirring gently and frequently. Remove from heat.
- Gradually add vinegar, stirring gently, let stand for 5 minutes. Stir gently (some curds should start form), if it needs to stand for 5- 10 minutes to see curds, let it.
- Place a double-thickness cheesecloth in a colander set in sink. Carefully pour mixture into the colander, discarding the liquid whey. Allow cheese to drain for 15 to 20 minutes to remove all of the excess whey.
- Gather cheese and transfer to a small bowl. If you prefer to make a Queso Fresco mold, line a plastic container with plastic wrap and place another container with a can of food to weigh it down.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
- Cheese can be stored in fridge for 1-2 weeks.
**It is very important to sterilize your pot as well as any measuring cups, spoons, thermometer. Before making the Queso Fresco, fill the pot with water bring to a boil and sanitize all utensils and place on clean dry cloth. Wash your hands well.
Original soup recipe from: Magazine: better Homes and Gardens Special Interest- Mexican, page 87, April 2011
Original Queso fresco recipe from: Magazine: better Homes and Gardens Special Interest- Mexican, page 25, April 2011
What I changed from original soup recipe:
- added lime, cumin, corn and black beans
- replaced chorizo with shredded roasted chicken
- used olive oil for roasted veggies
- used more onion, garlic and tomatoes, and broth
- used cilantro instead of epazote
What I changed from original Queso Fresco recipe:
- used whole goats milk instead of cows milk
- let it stand more for curdling process
Soup Mistress Rating for Chicken Tortilla Soup with Goat Queso Fresco:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)