No matter what time of year it is, I am always hungry for a bowl of Tortilla Soup! Chicken, beef, shrimp or meatless varieties are some of the many I have prepared. My friends and family are partial to the tortilla soup I prepare with a roasted tomato base. I prepared this recipe for my friends at the community lunch a few months back. For today’s post, I am sharing with you a simple recipe of a meatless tortilla soup, but certainly not lacking in flavor. The added roasted red bell pepper adds a delicious slow roasted flavor to the soup. I have said this before, but again I will say that if you have homemade chicken stock, that is the way to go for any tortilla soup recipe. But when there is no time for preparing a homemade stock, look for a good quality low sodium chicken broth for your recipes. And when I can, I will replace sour cream or crema with a light Greek plain yogurt. Once I add the lime, avocado and seasoning, I really can’t tell to much difference in my dishes. Because I would rather have a light crema than give up the fried tortilla strips! Lol!
Yields 6-8 Servings
4 to 5 roma tomatoes
1 small white onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, skins on
2 serrano, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, remove stem and seeds and slice into quarters
14 corn tortillas, diced or cut into strips and fried until crisp
6 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth.
1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup monterey jack, shredded or cubed small for garnish
Crushed red pepper flakes for garnish (I used chile piquin)
Tips~I like to roast the ingredients on stove top, but you could certainly roast them in the oven or under the broiler. I also line my pan with foil paper for easy clean up. For an extra smooth broth, you could strain all after being blended through a wire mesh strainer.
For Avocado Crema
1 large avocado, diced
1 cup crema, sour cream or plain greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
*add just enough cold water to the avocado crema to help it blend easier
Tips~ For a variation on the soup, substitute tomatillos for the tomatoes for a roasted green tomatillo version of this soup. For a heartier soup, add some store bought(pre-cooked) roasted chicken that has been shredded to the bottom of each bowl before filling with tortilla soup.
1. On the stove top, heat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat. Line with foil paper at this time, if using. Add the tomatoes, onions, garlic, chile serrano and red bell pepper. If you like, you could drizzle the vegetables with a little oil, but it is not a must. Cook to roast and char, turning as needed, for about 20 minutes, removing the garlic after about 12 minutes. Remove skins from garlic once cooled.
2. While vegetables are roasting, fry all the corn tortillas. Fry in batches in 1 1/2 cups of canola oil at 350 degrees F. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Reserve half of them for garnishing the soup. Take the other half and transfer to the blender. When ready, add all of the roasted vegetables, 1 1/2 cups of broth and salt and pepper to taste. Blend on high until smooth, set aside.
3. . Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat in a large pot. After a few minutes when oil is hot sear and cook the sauce from blender for 10 minutes. Add remaining chicken broth, lime juice, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, pepper and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes. Taste for seasonings and adjust to taste. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with fried tortilla strips, avocado crema and crushed red pepper flakes. Yields 6-8 servings.