Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tortilla Soup, Happy Cinco De Mayo!

This recipe was first posted on Andrea the Kitchen Witch in Feb of 2010. In honor of Cinco De Mayo the Witch has decided to share it with you all again. The Witches' camera is broken right now - no new posts until it gets fixed :( Until then please enjoy this recipe from the archives!

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!
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