Tortilla Soup

This is a recipe I created for a private class recently. The last time I made it, however, I used homemade chicken stock. Regardless of whether it’s totally vegetarian, count on it to be a warming, flavorful soup. Also, instead of putting all the tortilla strips in the soup, I fried some of them which added a deliciously crunchy garnish.

Here in Minnesota, we just had about another 3-inches of snow fall making this a perfect soup on a cold day.

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
medium yellow onion, ½-inch dice
3 medium carrots, ½-inch dice
1 medium jalapeño chili, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon chili powder
5 cups homemade or canned vegetable broth or enough to cover vegetables
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned if out of season
1-15 ounce can black bean or black soy bean, rinsed and drained
1 medium zucchini, ½-inch dice
1 medium yellow summer squash, ½-inch dice
2 cups cooked chicken, diced (optional)
4 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas, cut into ¼-inch-wide strips

Over medium-low heat, heat large Dutch oven with oil. Add onion and carrots; cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeño cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute, being careful not to let the garlic burn.

Stir in tomato paste, cumin and chili powder. Add the stock and 2 tablespoons cilantro; raise the heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

Add tomatoes, beans, zucchini, squash (and chicken if using) to soup. Cover; simmer until zucchini and squash are tender, about 10 – 15 minutes and the beans are heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro. Top with the fried tortilla strips and serve.

Photography by David Paul Schmit

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