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Rustic "Tortilla" Soup

 Lest anyone get excited thinking that this is my final thoughts on Tortilla Soup post...or my What makes a great Tortilla Soup post...or the post announcing My Favorite Tortilla Soup: after the quest...I'll say right off the bat that it is not.  Sorry about that.  It may seem that I'm dragging my feet, but I'm actually working on a little project, so bear with me, please.  I will eventually post my favorite.  I mean, you didn't think that just because my year-long quest was over that I'd stop trying different versions of Tortilla Soup did you?  As if!  It only fueled my fire.

Yes, I say "tortilla" soup...because this is a very loose definition of this bowl of soup.  I mean, when Mexi took one look at it (after I told him that I made Tortilla Soup), he said "This!?  It looks like Vegetable Soup."  MmmHmm.  My thoughts exactly.  It's a veggie soup with tortilla croutons. It's pretty far as Tortilla Soup goes, that is.  I mean, it's a tasty veggie soup.  There's no heat and no flavor profile of a Tortilla Soup.  The added raw jalapeño as garnish does add some fire, but without it and the tortilla chips, you wouldn't guess it to be what it's labeled.  That said, don't be discouraged, it's a good soup in and of itself.  I actually cut down on the amount of veggies that were in the original recipe, too.  The one unique thing about this version that I pretty much adored was the addition of sage to the tortilla chips...that was pretty ingenious.  The earthiness was a perfect compliment.  I'll be remembering that for future versions.
Rustic Tortilla Soup
adapted from Jamie's America
serves 4

olive oil
1 onion, peeled & diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
2 carrots, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. Chicken Better than Bouillon
1 (14.5 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1 ripe avocado, diced
1 lime
1 jalapeño, sliced thinly
2 large handfuls tortilla chips
1 heaping tsp. dried sage
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Place a large soup pot on medium-low heat and pour in a good glug of olive oil.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, and bell peppers.  Sauté gently, stirring occasionally, until everything has softened, ~10-15 minutes.

Add fresh tomatoes, bay leaves, bouillon, and canned tomatoes.  Fill the can with water 2 times and add it to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and let bubble gently for ~20 minutes.
Lay the tortilla chips on a sheet tray, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with the sage.  Slide into preheated oven and cook for a few minutes, until warm and starting to turn golden on the edges.  In the meantime, grate the zest of the lime over your avocado and then squeeze the juice from that lime onto the avocado, as well...toss.

Adjust seasoning on soup with salt and pepper.  Divide soup between bowls and pass the garnishes!
It's a POTLUCK this week at IHCC.
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