Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
I know I promised ice cream a week or so ago. Sorry if I got your hopes up. Can you hold them up for just a little longer? I need to tweak a couple of things and give it another go. If all goes as planned, then I’ll be giving you heaven in a bowl. I’m not joking. I can hardly wait myself.
In the meantime, how about some soup? Eh… not exactly a good replacement for ice cream, but this one is fantastic, I promise. It’s also very light and is great for summer. (Except you need to use your broiler, so I suggest either grilling your tomatoes or preparing them at night if you don’t have A/C . . . like us right now.)
By the way, this isn’t a chunky soup. It’s actually pureed, but as I was preparing to take a photo, the tortilla strips kept sinking to the bottom of the bowl, so I kept putting more in. . . and more in. Note to self: don’t put so much soup in the bowl if your toppings don’t float.
(Yes, I know. Another mexi-soup. I’m obsessed. This one’s different, though! I know I say that every time, but it’s true! The goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and avocados give it a bit of a California flair.)
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
6-8 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into thin strips
a big splash of extra virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
20 small yellow or red cherry tomatoes or 5-6 good-sized Roma tomatoes, quartered
another splash of extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne or other spicy red chili powder (or more if you really want some heat)
1 14-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
a few sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
Gently toss the tortilla strips with a glug of olive oil and salt. Turn them out onto a baking sheet, arrange them across the pan and bake in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set aside.
Halve (or quarter) the tomatoes lengthwise and put them in a small roasting pan, oven proof dish, or rimmed baking sheet. Toss with a bit of olive oil and a pinch or two of salt. Bake in a 400F degree oven for 30-40 minutes (less time if you use smaller cherry tomatoes), or until the tomatoes are shrunken and golden around the edges. The tomatoes keep nicely in a jar for days (refrigerated), so you can do this part in advance if you like. Set aside.
Now for the soup itself – in a big pot over medium-high heat cook the garlic and onions in a splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt for just a minute or so. Stir in the spices and then the tomatoes. Cook down for about five minutes or so until it thickens some. Remove from heat, add one cup of the broth and puree with a hand blender (or puree in a traditional blender). Add the remaining 5 cups of broth and puree until smooth. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve the individual bowls topped with plenty of tortilla strips, the roasted and sun-dried tomatoes, and some crumbled goat cheese. Alternately, you can finish with sliced avocado, cilantro, white onions, and a squeeze of lime. If you like a creamier soup base add a splash of half and half, or stir in some extra goat cheese.
Makes about 6 servings.