Don’t confuse tomatillos with green tomatoes. Tomatillos are related to gooseberries—they have the same paperlike husk—and are relatively small and bright green. They are delightfully sour, which makes them a perfect foil for chiles, cilantro, cheese, and sour cream, and are the base for most versions of Mexican salsa verde. Serve with fried tortilla strips, sour cream, and cheese.
– 1 white or yellow onion.
– 2 cloves garlic, minced.
– 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil.
– 1 chipotle chile, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes to soften if dried or rinsed if canned, seeded, and chopped, or 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped.
– 2 poblano chiles, charred, peeled, and seeded and then chopped.
– 2 pounds fresh tomatillos, husks removed, or three 13-ounce cans tomatillos, drained.
– 2 cups shrimp broth, chicken broth, or water.
– 18 or 24 large shrimp, peeled and then deveined if desired.
– 3 corn tortillas, optional.
– Vegetable oil for deep-frying.
– 1 pint sour cream.
– ½ pound mild cheese such as Monterey Jack or mild Cheddar, coarsely grated.
Step 1:In a pot large enough to hold the soup, cook the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat, stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until the onion softens and is shiny but does not brown.
Step 2:Add the chiles to the onion. If using fresh tomatillos, cut them in half before you add them to the pot. If using canned tomatillos, add them whole.Add the broth, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes for canned tomatillos or 15 minutes for fresh tomatillos, or until the tomatillos are completely soft and turn to mush when you stir them.
Step 3:Puree the soup with a blender (see precautions) until smooth. If you want your soup perfectly smooth and creamy, work it through a coarse-mesh strainer or a food mill fitted with the coarse disk and return it to the same pot.
Step 4:Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat, add the shrimp, and simmer for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 5:To make the fried tortilla strips, cut 3 tortillas in half, and then cut each half on the diagonal into strips ⅓ inch wide. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 2 inches into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until ripples are visible on the surface, about 375˚F on a deep-frying thermometer. (The oil should not come more than halfway up the sides of the pan.) The oil is ready if when you drop in a tortilla strip, it stays on the surface and is immediately surrounded with bubbles. Add half of the tortilla strips and fry for about 1 minute, or until pale brown. Keep in mind that the strips continue to darken after you take them out of the oil. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the strips to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining strips.
Step 6:Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and pass the tortilla strips, sour cream, and cheese at the table.