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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tortilla Soup

 It's the middle of winter but I have a hankering for warm roasted tomatoes, yet something more than just salsa. It's not the best time of year to cook with fresh garden ingredients but if you have a produce store you can trust, go for it. Plus the roasting will help bring out deep, sweet flavors of the winter fruit.

The way I create this soup follows similar principles of making a roasted salsa which starts by roasting the fruit/veggies and then blending them; the addition of chicken broth to the blended 'salsa' creates the soup. The result is a spicy, roasted flavor that is slightly cooled by the queso fresco (cheese) and the toasted corn tortillas.

Another super simple, warm soup that gives you a healthy option over heavy cream and calorie laden soups - that's something to be Fat and Happy about.

Tips and techniques:  Mix and match the peppers you put in this soup for more more or less heat.

Tortilla Soup

3 tomatoes
4 tomatillos
1 poblano pepper
1 medium sized yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, leave outer paper on
1 small dried pasilla chile (optional), could substitute a small jalapeno, or chipotle pepper
4 corn tortillas
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp salt

Soup toppings
1 avocado
juice of 1 lime
hot sauce
Queso Fresco

Turn the oven broiler to high and line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Place the tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic on the cookie sheet and place under the broiler. Let each side become nearly blackened and then turn.  Take the garlic (and the dried pasilla chili if using) out first as it will only take a few minutes before it burns. Remove everything from the broiler and let cool slightly.

Peel the garlic, (remove seeds and veins from the pasilla/jalapeno if using) cut the stem off the peppers and add all the roasted items to the blender. Add one torn up tortilla.  Blend until smooth (if you want a chunkier soup, pulse the ingredients until desired thickness is reached.)  Pour the salsa into a soup pot over Medium heat.

Add the broth, salt and pepper to the pot. Simmer for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, place the remaining tortillas in a heated oven until crispy. Mash the avocado, lime juice and a few shakes of hot sauce together with a fork.

To serve, add soup to bowls and top with a scoop of avocado, crumbled queso fresco and a few strips of corn tortilla.  Makes 4 large bowls of soup.

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