Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vegetable & Bean Tortilla Soup

Let me preface this post by saying that I hate to say that a dish that I have prepared is "restaurant quality," since there are so many awful restaurants that it isn't necessarily a compliment. However, I do think it can be noted that a meal is something that you would pay money for -- which I think this soup fits the bill.

I have been making variations of this soup for a few years now, combining several recipes and adding & deleting until it was just right.
Here is the resulting product:

The recipe is subject to interpretation - use whatever veggies that you like, and leave out those that you don't like. If you have an extra potato or pepper laying around, chop it up and toss it in the pot!

Vegetable & Bean Tortilla Soup

1 large white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
8 cups canned vegetable broth - I prefer the Better than Boullion No Chicken Base
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

6 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
Emeril's Essence
1 can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 zucchini, diced
½ cup of corn kernals (frozen is OK)
1 large jalapeño chili, seeded & minced

Spray large nonstick saucepan (6-8 quart) with vegetable oil spray. Add onion, garlic, poblano pepper, & carrot. Cook over medium-low heat until almost tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin and chili powders. Add broth and 4 tablespoons cilantro; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 15 minutes.
Add tomatoes, beans, zucchini, corn and jalapeño to soup. Cover; simmer until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a heavy pot.* Add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with Emeril’s Essence (or just use salt & pepper if you prefer).
Ladle soup into bowls. Serve with the tortilla crisps and other toppings of your choice: sliced avocado, green onions, cilantro, lime wedges, cholula, etc.

Serves: 4-6 as a main course.

*NOTE: for a reduced fat option, you can spray the strips with cooking spray and bake the tortilla strips at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes, turning once.

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