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Culinary SOS

A Steaming Bowl of Tortilla

March 26, 1997|ROSE DOSTI | Dosti is a freelance writer

DEAR SOS: I recently was treated to lunch at Abiento restaurant in Pasadena, where my hostess ordered a bowl of tortilla soup. After sampling it, I couldn't wait to get back to the restaurant for an entire bowl of my own.

--GINNI

DEAR GINNI: All yours. Abiento's chef points out that, at the restaurant, corn tortillas are cut into thin strips and fried for the garnish, but broken store-bought chips are fine too.

ABIENTO TORTILLA SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cloves garlic, smashed

2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

1 large white onion, coarsely chopped

2 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped

2 whole leeks, coarsely chopped

2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons cumin

6 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish

2 quarts chicken broth

6 corn tortillas

Salt, pepper

2 tablespoons sour cream

6 tortilla chips, broken

Heat oil. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add celery, onion, peppers and leeks and saute over medium heat until soft, 8 to 9 minutes.

Add tomatoes, coriander, cumin and 6 tablespoons cilantro and cook 2 minutes.

Add chicken broth and simmer 25 minutes.

Tear corn tortillas into pieces and add to mixture. Simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Strain. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sour cream, using 1 teaspoon per serving, sprinkling of extra chopped cilantro and chips.

6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings:

136 calories; 550 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.62 grams fiber.

* Indigo paer tiles from Noteworthy at Beverly Center and in Santa Monica.

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