Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tortilla soup

After making mole last week, I had a lot of Mexican style ingredients around the kitchen that needed to get used. Things like corn tortillas and jalapanos. It was lunch time on yet another snowy day here in Colorado Springs, a bit of warming was in order. What warms you inside and outside better than tortilla soup?

I've made tortilla soup many times and it always follows the same basic recipe. And its usually good, not great, but good. This tortilla soup, however, was amazingly good. What a taste sensation! It was the first time that I added lime, something I'll never leave out again. Other than the chicken stock, this soup contains no meat. Between the beans and toppings I guarantee you'll never miss the meat.

I cook corn tortillas into my soup, rather than just garnishing the top with them. After all, this is tortilla soup! It takes about 30 minutes of simmering for the tortillas to break down and incorporate into the soup. Its not a pretty process but the taste is fantastic. When you look at the finished product you'll see how creamy the soup looks, and theres no dairy in it at all. That's the magic of the corn tortilla. Rich chicken stock, creamy black beans, spicy jalapanos, all made rich and creamy by the addition of tortillas. A splash of lime juice makes everything stand up and pay attention.

The best part of tortilla soup is the garnishes - add anything you like. I like the creaminess of avocados, the color and acidity of tomatoes and the cooling action of sour cream and cheese. This is a great dish for the entire family, kids and adults both have fun adding their own toppings, making their own custom bowl of soup.

Tortilla soup
serves 4
4 cups chicken stock
2 fresh jalapanos or fresh chili of your choice OR 1 small can jalapanos or green chilies
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 t fresh toasted & ground cumin seeds (pre ground is fine if that's what you have)
1 cloves garlic minced
2 T onion fine mince
8 fresh corn tortillas
1/2 lime, fresh or squeeze of lime juice on each bowl of soup
drizzle of oil
GARNISHES: diced avocado, tomato, green onion, olives, cilantro, sour cream, tortilla strips

Prep all ingredients first. Dice jalapanos, discard veins and seeds if you like a milder soup. Mince onion and garlic. Toast the cumin and grind it.
Kitchen Witch Tip: If you're unsure about the heat level desired from your soup, remove the vein and seeds from your pepper. Dice the pepper and add to the soup. Dice the vein and seeds and reserve, add some if you need more heat. The vast majority of the heat is in the vein and seeds of the pepper. I do this when making spicy dishes that I expect the kids to eat, the base dish is quite mild, the adults can add more spiciness as desired.

Heat a medium sized soup pan over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and sautee onions for about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, beans, jalapanos, cumin and stock, reduce heat to medium. Taste and season with S&P as needed. Tear 4 corn tortillas into hunks and stir into soup, allow to rapidly simmer for 30 minutes. You need some good simmering action here, the agitation of the bubbling will help break down the tortillas and allow them to dissolve, helping to thicken the soup and add a rich corn flavor. Stir every 5 minutes.

While soup is simmering heat oven to 450*. Brush both sides of corn tortillas with a touch of oil. Slice tortillas into 1/8 inch wide strips. Put tortilla strips on a baking sheet and toss with 1/2 t kosher salt. Bake strips 8 minutes, turn them over and bake about 5 minutes longer, or until strips turn golden and smell like toasted corn.

Ladle soup into bowls topping with tortilla strips and any/all garnishes you like.

Nutrition information provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving *~*does not include garnishes*~*
Nutrition Facts
Tortilla soup
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 195.8
Total Fat 2.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 6.3 mg
Sodium 1,400.5 mg
Potassium 342.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.5 g
Dietary Fiber 7.4 g
Sugars 1.0 g
Protein 8.5 g

I've entered this soup into a blog challenge for tortilla soup recipes, click HERE to check out all the awesome soups, too!


Ashleigh said...

It's gorgeous looking.

The_Gothic_Gourmet said...

Soup is good for the soul. (So they say) soup is MMMM MMMMM good. Soup...is good food but I digress.

I love your site! I Myself am a French Onion soup JUNKIE. I'll swap My recipe with you if you like. Now, thank you kitchen witch, I am HUNGRY. (This doesn't happen often so you did a supreme cool thing which is make Me get out of bed, scratch My head and check the time. Time to cook. Time to gather ingredients.

Tortilla soup sounds incredible too. There is a chain here (a restaurant chain) called 'Max & Erma's' that sells a wonderful Tortilla soup. The best part of the soup (aside from it's lovely thickness (not too thick though) and it's warm rich layering of flavors is the chips on top. These aren't your average chips. Oh so flaky. The texture is a bit hard to describe.

I first tried this dish in oh, who knows where (NY? NC?) as a Flight Attendant and I made a pig out of Myself with no apologies and had three bowls! I left My meal in a to go box and just ate the soup. The First Officer and Captain laughed heartily. Honey child, I didn't bat an eyelash or blush at all (I suppose as a lady I should have) well, whatever. Ever since then I have had to go there or have My hubby pick up that ding danged soup for Me and bring it home. Speaking of.. he just phoned. Working late tonight. His payment (even though he doesn't know I didn't make a souffle because I fell asleep) is going to Max & Erma's and buying Me some soup. Perhaps some fish and chips as well. (They have awesome fish and chips for not being English and all that.

I just had a thought...maybe I should write about all the interesting dishes I have had abroad and even in our own Country?

Just a thought. May be fleeting, may sound silly.The fish and chips made Me think about Manchester, England....


As it were, keep up the good work. This site rocks the casbah! (The Clash). Gawd I'm old.

Enough babbling for now. You opened a can of worms commenting on My itty bitty site. I'm all over this page here and I really love the recipes. My hubby will shake a finger at you later once he retrieves all of these ingredients. Ha!

Take care and keep the heat not just in the kitchen but everywhere you happen to roam.

As always,
The Gothic Gourmet.

The_Gothic_Gourmet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary B. said...

I found your blog through Siri's. My husband and I just made your tortilla soup for dinner. All I can say is, thank you, it was delicious!!!

girlichef said...

Oh my gosh, I LOOOOOOVE this version! It sounds so fabulous, I can just taste the wonderful flavors you've developed =) And I agree...corn is GOOD in Tortilla Soup. Thanks so much for sharing it at the challenge...and adding another one to my ongoing Quest for the ULTIMATE TS!! =)

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