Sunday, January 28, 2007

January 27, 2007: Tortilla soup

A new regular food-blogging read for me is vanesscipes, which is written by a vegetarian who cooks in her small Brooklyn home. For dinner on Saturday night we attempted our first recipe from her site, a new posting of tortilla soup. This is a fabulous concoction, which can be made as simple or elaborate as you feel (just vary the garnish). The soup is fairly watery, but it's choc-full of veges, beans and tortilla chunks, meaning that it's a filling meal on its own and every spoonful offers something interesting and different. You can also pitch the chilli dosage to your preference, from a comforting warmth up to a firey attention-grabber! Vanessa uses corn tortillas, but Mexican supplies are more constrained in this part of the world and I used flour ones. In doing so we've missed out on a "deep, toasted corn flavor", but I don't think the processed, rubbery corn tortillas at the local supermarket would be supplying that anyway. Instead I reckon I'll add a 1/2 cup of fresh corn kernels next time I make this. My leftovers won some admiring looks at lunch on Monday, too!

Tortilla Soup
(adapted slightly from vanesscipes)

2 medium tortillas, torn into inch-and-a-half chunks
vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
810g can of crushed tomatoes
500mL vegetable stock
400g can four bean mix (choose any beans you like)
juice of half a lime
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt

Tortilla chip topping:
4 additional tortillas
salt and paprika/cumin/chilli powder
extra garnishes of your choice, maybe: chopped coriander, grated cheese (these are what we used), jalapenos, avocado, ...

In a large pot, fry the onion and capsicum in a little oil for a few minutes, then add the garlic. Continue cooking slowly until the veges are softened, then add the crushed tomatoes, vege stock, beans, lime juice and spices. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes.

If you're making the tortilla chips, do 'em while the soup's simmering. Slice the tortillas into strips and lay them flat on a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and spices, then grill for a few minutes until crunchy, turning half-way through. Prepare any other garnishes as needed.

When the 20 minutes is up, add the ripped tortilla chunks to the soup. Cook for a few more minutes so the tortillas soften, ladle into bowls and serve, piled up with your chosen garnishes.


  1. Looks like a good'un to me! I have a recipe for a risotto and seafood soup which i make without the seafood... the picture reminded me of that (although I am betting they taste really different).

    I'll give mum (Jane) the recipe to pass onto you (Cindy) at uni, in case you're interested in trying it. Oh, this is Stuart by the way! I've had your blog in my RSS since that uni party for mum's birthday last year, I'm liking it :) keep it up!

  2. Hi Stuart! :-) Thanks for leaving a comment, I would love to try your risotto soup recipe.

    Those mini-bagels you made last week were really cool! They set off a craving that led to my brekky bagel at Las Chicas.

    Be sure to let us know if you start blogging your own cooking experiments.

  3. Oh I've always wanted to try a tortilla soup recipe ... this might get me crankin on that. Corn tortillas sure are hard to find here. I reckon the Diego's ones are the best supermarket bet but I've had to try making my own lately and damn that's hard without fresh masa.

    Anyway, it's my first visit here and I'm excited to meet some other melbourne food bloggers who are vego and seemingly mexican obsessed. yay. great looking recipes.

  4. Welcome, Esther! I hope you'll stop by again. I've been enjoying your blog for some months now and I guess I should have plucked up the courage to comment on it. :-)

    I'm so impressed that you would try to make your own corn tortillas! I would love to see pictures or recipes for that on your blog.

  5. You could probably use ready-made tortilla chips for both the soup and the garnish - the "macro" ones that Woolies are making these days are pretty good, and pretty cheap. My Mexican sister used to bemoan the lack of corn tortillas in Melbourne, until she bought her own press. She makes hers with corn and lard..

  6. Good point, Liz - my US housemates did that (some of the supermarket tortilla chips there were better than anything I've seen here!). I can only imagine how much better again homemade ones would be.