These days, the highest compliment to any dish is when Andrew, 19, turns to me and says, “Is this hard to make?” This query is roughly translated into, “I love it! I’d like to make it myself, but as you know my culinary skills are limited, and plus I’m a uni student so I don’t want to make anything too complicated, so do you think I could pull this off back in my own kitchen?”
This is precisely what he asked me when we finished eating this tortilla soup. In this case, I told him it could be easy, but only once I’d modified the recipe so that he could do it himself.
First, I should note that I had to make a few modifications before I even started. Jessica would *really* like you to poach a whole chicken and then use the broth and shredded chicken as a base for the soup. I am here to tell you that life is too short to poach a chicken on a weeknight. Yes, I know that it’s easy. Yes, I know I work from home so theoretically I could do it with ease, but no. Just no. To be fair, she does say in the introduction you can substitute some shredded chicken and chicken stock, so that’s what I did.
Secondly, this is an American cookbook so we’ve once again come across an ingredient that was hard to source here in London. The soup calls for hominy (I had to resist putting it in quotation marks– that’s how exotic it seems to me), which is a type of corn. I’m sure in California, where Jessica lives, you have hominy aplenty. But not here in London. It’s not that it’s impossible to get here, but it is £6.31 per can on Amazon.co.uk, so I figured I should find a susbstitute. I did. It was frozen corn, which worked great.
So while this was a terrific recipe, I did modify it so it would work for us. I will modify it again so it will work for a university student. But given that’s the whole point of the cookbook, I’d call that a success.