Thursday, September 26, 2013

Recipe: Tortilla Soup

Hot as it's been lately, I still couldn't resist making some tortilla soup this week. It's easy, uses ingredients I usually have on hand, and doesn't wear out its welcome. It makes a great lunch or dinner with homemade or store-bought tortilla chips, perhaps with a salad or a slice of cornbread. On the plus side, since I use low-fat, low-salt ingredients, the soup is relatively low in calories and sodium--until you add the garnishes!

I've been making the soup for years, but, like many cooks, I tend not to make it the same way twice, nor do I measure my ingredients--except when writing down the recipe! I vary the amounts of peppers and types, as well as spices. This time I used a poblano pepper and loved the taste. Next time, I might add even more. I discovered a mild ground Hatch chili pepper at our local Bristol Farms and couldn't resist adding it. Opportunist that I am, I happened to have an open jar of Arrabiata tomato sauce, also from TJ's, and I mixed in some of that, too. When it comes to tortilla soup, the recipe is pretty forgiving. The basics are tortillas, tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, broth, beans, corn and spices. I use chicken broth and add some chopped chicken as well. But, if you're vegetarian, you could easily substitute vegetable broth, leave out the chicken and up the veggie count. You can make the soup much hotter by adding more chili, jalapenos and cumin, or less so by reducing it. A very versatile soup!

Tortilla Soup

(Makes 10 to 12 cups)


6 corn tortillas, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus cooking spray
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 poblano pepper, chopped*
1-2 jalapenos peppers, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced                       
1/2 cup cilantro, loosely packed, chopped
6-8 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup canned, drained, rinsed black beans
1 14.5-ounce can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1 14.5-ounce can diced, no-salt tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce**
2-3 teaspoons chili powder (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika***
1 bay leaf
1 cup corn, fresh, frozen or canned
1 to 2 cups cooked chicken breast
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauteed tortillas, onions, peppers and garlic


1) Saute chopped tortillas in oil until slightly browned. Remove and add to stock pot.

2) Spray pan with cooking spray. Saute onions, peppers until starting to soften, and add minced garlic and cilantro. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add to stock pot.

3) Add chicken stock, chopped tomatoes and sauce. 

4) Add spices, black beans and bay leaf.

5) Bring to a low boil. Turn down the heat to simmer. Cover pan and let cook for about half an hour, stirring at least once or twice to make sure mixture is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. If it's too thick, add a bit of broth or water. If it's too thin, remove the lid and cook a little longer to reduce the liquid.

Fire-roasted corn adds flavor. I bought the 365 brand at Whole Foods.

6) Let the soup cool until just warm. Remove bay leaf. Puree half using an immersion blender or food processor. Return to the pan and mix together.

7) Add corn and chicken. Adjust seasoning to taste. 

8) Serve with tortilla chips, chopped avocado, cilantro and a sprinkling of Parmesan, jack or cheddar cheese.

Cut tortillas into triangles, then fry until crisp in oil for a soup garnish.


* Optional 
** Sometimes I use 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste instead of the sauce.
*** This is also optional, but I think it adds an extra layer of flavor to the soup. I've also used Trader Joe's South African Smoke Seasoning Blend, which I absolutely love. 

Calories & Points:

For 10 one-cup servings, the calories are about 157 calories each and 4 points for Weight Watchers. When you add a some avocado slices, chips and cheese, the calories--and the flavor jump. A squeeze of lime is virtually calorie free--and really adds a bit of zing. Buen apetito!

No comments:

Post a Comment