Redemption and bear-shaped tostadas

Football Game Food

Last week, I made some delicious game-day food for the return of Sunday Football at Jim’s place.

Unfortunately, as a result of Cutler’s awful debut performance, I was too dejected to actually post about it.

Since I went to great lengths to make bear-shaped food, and the Bears redeemed themselves tonight in an exhilarating win, I think I’ll get around to posting about that meal now. Plus, this tortilla soup is way too good not to share.

Tostada and tortilla soup

Black Bean Bear Tostadas and Tortilla Soup

For the Tortilla Soup you’ll need:

3 chicken breasts

1 cup chicken stock

1 zucchini finely chopped

1 onion finely chopped

1-2 jalapenos (depending on how spicy you like it) minced

2 small tomatoes or 6 cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 can refried beans

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons corn flour or corn starch

For the Black Bean Tostadas you’ll need:

corn tortillas (recipe follows)

2 cans black beans

1/2  medium-sized onion, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

vegetable oil for frying

Let’s start with the tortilla soup. This recipe is easy-as-can-be thanks to the slow cooker. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use a large pot or dutch oven, but you’ll have to stir frequently, keep the stove at a low heat and keep a close eye on your soup. And if you don’t have a slow cooker, you really should invest in one.

Brown your chicken breasts in a skillet with some olive oil. Meanwhile, roast your red pepper and tomatoes with a little olive oil under the broiler until they get a nice char on them.

Roasted Red Pepper_2

Remove the blackened skin from the peppers and tomatoes—plastic sandwich baggies work well for this:

Roasted Red Pepper_3

A little char left on is OK. Blend your tomatoes and red pepper together until smooth.

Roasted Red Pepper_4

Add all the ingredients except for the corn flour to the slow cooker and cook on high for three to four hours or low for six to eight hours. Towards the end of the cooking, shred the chicken (I used two forks) and add the corn flour to thicken the soup. Garnish with tortilla strips (I made my own—see the tostada recipe below) and shredded cheese.

Chicken Tortilla Soup_2

For the black bean tostadas, first make your refried black beans.

Cook the minced onions in the vegetable oil until they become translucent. Mix all of the other ingredients (except the corn tortillas and vegetable oil for frying) in a skillet over medium heat. You can use the liquid from the black bean cans, as it will cook out over time, or reserve it and use it later if the beans dry out too much as you cook them. As the beans cook, mash them with a fork and continue to stir with a rubber spatula.

Black Beans

Cook the beans for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid has cooked out, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Black Beans_2

To make the tostadas, fry corn tortillas until golden brown. I made my own corn tortillas so I could shape them into bear faces (don’t call me a loser, I’m just a really devoted fan). They’re easier than you might think—no tortilla press required. First, mix two cups corn flour (masa) with 1 1/8 cup water. Roll the dough out very thin on a floured surface with a rolling pin.

Corn Tortilla_2

Assuming you aren’t forming your tortillas into cute animal shapes, use a cookie cutter or the lip of a cup or bowl to cut circles in the dough and use a spatula to scrape them off the table:

Corn Tortilla_3

I, on the other hand, made bear faces using a shot glass to cut out ears (then cutting the circle in half) and affixing them to the sides of the bigger circle with a dab of water.

Corn Tortillas_6

Cook the tortillas in a lightly greased skillet over medium heat. They take about two to three minutes each.

Corn Tortilla_7

After they’ve cooked, deep fry them in vegetable oil until golden brown, about two minutes. Sprinkle the tostadas generously with salt and garlic immediately after they’ve been fried.

Tostadas

Top the tostadas with warm refried black beans and crumbled queso fresco.

Black Bean Tostada

These are great together:

Tostada and Tortilla

So even though the bears suffered an embarrassing and demoralizing loss last week, at least the food was good.

Sheesh, and I call myself a fan—sorry for focusing on the negative guys, congrats on your awesome win tonight—keep up the good work. A post on tonight’s football feast to come.

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