Saturday, January 30, 2010

Me and Rosarita

Many, many years ago when I graduated from college, I moved to the big city. I left my home and family in Pocatello, Idaho and headed for the hustle and bustle and bright lights of Boise! (OK, laugh if you will, but it is the biggest city in the state of Idaho.)  I got a job and I got an apartment where I lived by myself for the first time in my life. I missed my family and I really missed my mother's cooking. Mom was an outstanding cook and having grown up in the Southwest, her specialties were Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes. Oh, those enchiladas! Mom usually made everything from scratch, including the sauces and it was a big production. Cooking for myself after a hard day at work was whatever I could make quickly. An early discovery was canned, Rosarita brand enchilada sauce. It tasted almost as good as Mom's. Now there are a lot of canned enchilada sauces, and I have tried them all, but, trust me, Rosarita's is the best. Rich and earthy, spicy but not too hot and more chile flavor than tomato. I could build myself a tasty stacked enchilada for dinner in no time. A little omelet, smothered in some Rosarita and sprinkled with cheese and green onions. A toasted cheese sandwich dipped in Rosarita. I considered Rosarita sauce my main staple.

Years went by and my cooking repertoire expanded and I lost touch with Rosarita for quite awhile. I looked for her in the stores, but never saw her. I assumed, sadly, that Rosarita was no more. Then last year when we moved, I started shopping at a different store and there, in the ethnic foods section I found my old friend Rosarita! We are BFFs again. And I have been remembering just how versatile this can of sauce is. It's not just for enchiladas!

Tonight I made a delicious and quick-to-fix tortilla soup, with Rosarita's help. It was so good, really! Here's how I did it. Took less than an hour. Amounts are sort of variable. I was making it up as I went along.

  • Cooked two very large chicken breasts in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes

  • While chicken cooked, I fried half a chopped onion in a little olive oil until starting to brown

  • Added one can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes, filled can with water and added to the pot

  • Added can (20 oz) Rosarita enchilada sauce, plus another can of water

  • Added can (4 oz) chopped green chiles

  • Clove of garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp. cumin

  • added a rounded soup spoon full of chicken boullion paste
While all that simmered, I sliced 5 fresh corn tortillas into strips (about 1/4"). Sprayed a cookie sheet with vegetable oil and spread the tortilla strips on it. These went into the oven with the chicken.

  • Took chicken from oven and cut into chunks and added to soup

  • Took the tortilla strips out when they were very crisp and browning a little

  • I added a little more water—actually I ran some boiling water into the pan I had cooked the chicken in and loosened the brown bits and juices and added to the soup
Ladled hot soup into bowls and garnished with shredded cheese, avocado chunks and the tortilla strips.

I know this sounds like a lot of cans of stuff, which is not the way I usually cook, but it is so fast and so tasty! Today I wanted to spend more time in my studio than the kitchen so it was perfect. I love a good tortilla soup. I'm not a fan of corn and rice and a bunch of stuff in my tortilla soup, but you could add whatever sounds good to you. If I'd had some cilantro I'd have sprinkled some of it on top. A squeeze of lime juice is also good if you have it.

There you go. I have broken those sacred blogging rules by not only telling you what I ate for dinner, but giving you the recipe.


  1. Is there something like sacred blogging rules? And if -- who made them?
    I know that most visitors search for the issue the blog was started for. But once you become friends, you like to dine with them -- virtually...

  2. That is a quilt waiting to happen. "Skewer the Sacred Blog Rules". Dinner sounds great, I'll have to make a market run today.

  3. You dare to post a recipe? You should at least charge us a fee to get the recipe. LOL! I love this soup. I will have to try your recipe.

  4. WELL! We know who won't be reading YOUR blog. (or mine, for that matter).

    Rosarita doesn't appear to live on the east coast, but I'll hunt for her.

  5. I love Rosarita too but this soup and the unusual uses... I will have to ex plore. Thanks a bunch.
    PS I LOVE my bird and she sits at the office and people remark on her every day. Rosie is her name... how appropraite!

  6. Yes, you are a bad, bad, evil woman -- because now I have to completely rethink my dinner plans and go get some Rosarita (who, BTW, is a staple in our house in teh form of refried beans).

  7. Rosarita lives in our pantry, too. Your approach to cooking is so much like Jerry's and mine. We've done variations on this soup, but not with, uh, HER as an ingredient; am printing out now and will have to try it soon.

  8. My tortilla soup is identical except for the Rosarita-we only have Old El Paso near me. Must research this on Amazon's food section?? I'll make this today and be happy you broke the rules. I like that in you!

  9. Good for you, breaking the rules in plain sight! Your soup sounds yummy, a must-try. I'm glad I followed the link to your site from the SAQA list!

  10. You blatant scofflaw, you. You'll never meet some other person's idiosyncratic idea of blog perfection now. LOL

    Rosarita lives at my house too. :) I like the green enchilada sauce the best.

  11. Food food food! Yea broken rules! Thanks for the heads-up on the corn syrup in the fat-free half and half- I checked the brand I bought, this time Hood, and it has only milk, cream, and third ingredient- sugar. Can't eat sugar, so thanks- I simply cannot believe I never looked at the ingredients- was busy with the carb and fat count! OK, I am on the Rosarita hunt- I sure love my enchiladas too! The can looks familiar...

  12. Anonymous5:09 PM

    I am probably responsible for Rosarita being part of Kristin L's diet. I use Rosarita refried beans along with the other beans in my chili recipe. They thicken the soup without changing the flavor. -- Kristin's Mom

  13. Keep breaking those 'sacred' blog rules- I made the soup for dinner tonight,it was quick and delicious! Thanks for sharing this, it's a definite keeper in my recipe book.

  14. Terry,
    I am definitely going to try it, I can tell from the list it would be something I would like! And you make it sound so easy. Thanks