Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

It's getting to be that time of year again. The weather is turning cold but not yet bitter cold like what we see in February. Colds and sneezes are going around like crazy and it's just the right sunlight for a hot bowl of soup. Last year I went a little soup-crazy and I make no promises that soup adventures won't happen again.

Apparently this year 'cauliflower' is a buzz word in the food world. I'm not a big fan, opting to mask the cauliflower in other things rather than eating it straight. I highly doubt I will ever make cauliflower soup alone but to try a new soup, I ventured into the spicy world of tortilla soup.

This always makes me think of winter and a family friend who made this for me back when I was a kid. Initially I was concerned about soggy tortillas in my soup but once they're fried, they add a nice crunch. Like most soups, this is pretty low maintenance. The biggest challenge for me was frying the tortillas which admittedly, resulted in some burnt chips.

An onion, garlic pieces and spices are all sweated together before adding diced canned tomatoes and vegetable broth. This is all blended together before adding the 'meat' of the dish which happens to be meatless! Yellow peppers and black beans are the last veggies for this guy. Everything is simmered together until the peppers are cooked.

Topped with the tortillas, cheese, cilantro and avocados, this was a perfect lunch on a crisp November day. Of course, I didn't actually top this with avocados because I ate all of them before I could put them on top of the soup but you get the idea. It had just the right amount of kick for me but if you like extra spicy things, you can add some chopped jalapenos.

This dish is vegetarian friendly and if you use gluten-free tortillas, is also gluten-free! However, dietary restrictions aside, this would also fair well with some shredded chicken or pulled pork. Next time...

From Joy the Baker

  • 3 medium tortillas, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (complete with juice)
  • 4 cups (or one container) of vegetable broth
  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 chopped yellow pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Fry the tortilla pieces in two batches. The first batch will take some time to cook, make sure to flip them over. The second batch moves very quickly.
  2. In the same pot, add the chopped onion, minced garlic and spices. Cook the onion until translucent and the ingredients are sweated together. Note: I could never host a cooking show because I always cry when I chop onions.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and diced tomatoes (complete with juice) into the pan. Using an immersion blender, coarsely blend the soup together.
  4. Add the chopped pepper and black beans to the soup. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes until the pepper are cooked and tender.
  5. Serve hot and top with the tortilla chips. You can also add cilantro, avocado, cheese, radishes etc. to the soup. I recommend only adding the chips when you're ready to eat the soup and not leave them in there overnight or between servings. You want them nice and crispy! 

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