I was at a bar over the holidays and ran in to a really old friend, as people tend to do at hometown bars that time of year. Amy has been living in Australia for the past 5 years and told me she can't find any decent Mexican food in her town. She asked where she could find authentic Mexican nearby. My (I thought at the time) super clever reply was: "the only place to get good Mexican around here is my kitchen!" Steph had Amy and her Husband over for a Mexican feast a few days later and everything was really tasty. For the main meal I was making Chicken Chile Rellenos. It would be good, but I wanted to use some of my favorite and more exotic Mexican ingredients somewhere. I searched around for how to add Tamarind or Tomatillos to no avail. Finally I gave up and decided to just wing it on a soup. The results were amazing and even had a fun name!
I added water to this. WATER?!?!? Yea, there is plenty of flavor going into this soup.
What is that chicken doing there? I was using shredded chicken in the Chile Rellenos, so I decided to extract some flavor from the chicken by poaching it in the soup. This is an optional step.
Lots of blending to make this soup.
I love me some tamrind. Don't use the crappy prepared stuff. Grab some fresh ones and take off the shells.
Pour them in the soup to cook for about 15 minutes.
Take them out with a strainer, then press the pulp back into the pot, removing the seeds and strings.
Finally tomatillos. You can't do this at the same time as the tamarind cause of the whole strings and seeds straining part.
This came out way better than I ever imagined! Deep spice from the chiles, tangyness from the tomatillos, and sweet/sour from the tamarind! All the elements of awesome!
About 6 dried chiles, 3 jalapenos, 1 large onion, and 3 cloves of garlic. Seed, chop and toss everything into a pot with some oil. Don't worry about the size of the pieces because this will all get blended later. After about 5 minutes of sauteing, add some water and salt. About 10 cups. Let this simmer for a half hour. At this point, if you are eating chicken later (I was with this meal - TBPosted tomorrow) throw it in there to poach. This is not a necessary step. When the chicken is cooked, get it out and set aside for your other meal and blend up the soup until smooth. Add about 20 shelled tamarinds to the soup and let them cook for 15 minutes. Salt. Remove from the soup with a strainer and press all the tamarind goodness through the strainer and back into the pot, getting rid of all the strings and seeds. Finally, add 15 to 20 tomatillos to the soup and let them cook for 15 minutes. Blend it all up until smooth one last time!!! Taste for seasoning. Serve and top with queso cheese.
Come back tomorrow to check out the rellenos!