Corn Tortillas are a way of life in Mexico! While recently watching the whole commercial tortilla process I noticed ladies arrive to buy just a few pesos worth of fresh tortillas for the day while others bought prepared masa for making tamales & gorditas. The large scale masa/tortilla operations cut several steps out for a busy housewife or cook in Mexico. There were even Tortilla riots in parts of Mexico recently because the price increase of the tortillas in Mexico...many unhappy people south of the border!! The prices have gone up as much as 5 pesos per kilo here, which is substantial for the working poor. Mexico imports an average of 4.2 million tons of U.S. corn per year~that translates to a whole lot of tortillas!
While the Corn Tortilla & Masa has been a staple in the Mexican diet for centuries & centuries, flour tortillas were brought to Mexico by Spanish Conquistadors. It is a carryover from the Moorish influence in Spain & is very similar to the Pan de Arabie still sold in Markets & groceries across Mexico today.
The whole dried corn is treated with a heat & steam bath so it is soft for the grinding process to make masa.
Tortilla Soup Recipe
1 medium onion chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. Oil
2 lb Chicken breast with bone & skin
1 14oz. can tomatoes
1 10 1/2 oz. cans water
2 10 3/4 oz. can chicken broth
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
8-10 tortillas, cut in 1" squares, fried in skillet with oil (or baked)
1/2 cup grated Monterrey Jack Cheese or Queso Asadero
Saute the first 5 ingredients in a large skillet.
Add remaining ingredients, except tortillas, cheese & avocado, and simmer for 50 minutes. Pull chicken off the bone, remove skin, dice & put back into the soup.
Pour into bowls over tortilla strips and sprinkle with cheese, avocado & extra cilantro. Also delicious with squeeze of lime!