Recipe of the week: Marcus Samuelsson’s chicken tortilla soup

Crunchy Yardbird Soup is Marcus Samuelsson’s international spin on chicken tortilla soup. Photo by Paul Brissman.
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Crunchy Yardbird Soup is Marcus Samuelsson’s international spin on chicken tortilla soup. Photo by Paul Brissman.

marcusbookMarcus Samuelsson is one of the most fascinating working chefs in America right now.

The Ethiopian native who grew up in Sweden had plenty of culinary cred before launching his Harlem restaurant Red Rooster and catapulting onto the national scene. He’s won James Beard Awards, cooked at the White House and, in recent years, appeared on numerous television shows, including “Top Chef Masters,” which he won, “Chopped” and “The Taste.”

He was in Austin for the first few years of the Austin Food & Wine Festival, which returns April 24 to 26 at Butler Park. The chef line-up won’t be announced until later this month, but even if he’s not on the program, his new book “Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35) will make you feel like you’re cooking with him side-by-side. This is his international spin on chicken tortilla soup, but with Italian orzo pasta and Parmesan cheese and more than a few dashes of Southern hot sauce.

Crunchy Yardbird Soup is Marcus Samuelsson’s international spin on chicken tortilla soup. Photo by Paul Brissman.

Crunchy Yardbird Soup is Marcus Samuelsson’s international spin on chicken tortilla soup. Photo by Paul Brissman.

Crunchy Yardbird Soup

6 cups water
4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
4 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 tsp. paprika
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup orzo
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
2 cups tortilla chips
1 lime, quartered
Fresh cilantro for garnish

Put the water, Tabasco, chicken, onion, garlic, thyme, and paprika into a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and let it cool on a plate. Add the carrot to the pot and simmer gently for 10 minutes, until just tender. Pull the chicken meat from the bones, shred it, and return to the broth. Discard the skin and bones — or freeze them to use in another stock.

Cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 6 minutes. Drain and toss with the olive oil, Parmesan, and chives.

Crumble the tortilla chips with your hands and divide them evenly among the soup bowls. Divide the orzo among the bowls then ladle the soup on top. Squeeze lime into each serving and garnish with cilantro. Serves 4.

— From “Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home” by Marcus Samuelsson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35)


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