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!
(adapted slightly from vanesscipes)
2 medium tortillas, torn into inch-and-a-half chunks
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.