Here in Austin, we consume a serious amount of tacos. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack… any time of day can be considered taco time. Because of this, I always have leftover tortillas. When they start to get a little stale, I pop them in the freezer and eventually make this soup. There are two types of tortilla soup: the thin brothy kind (usually with chicken), and this creamy version where corn tortillas are cooked into the base of the soup as a thickener. They bring a nice earthy flavor that works especially well with the bold spicy flavors that are in here. And if you’re not tortilla-d out by now, I suggest topping the soup with crispy tortilla strips, and serving it with warm tortillas on the side.
Creamy Tortilla Soup
*serves 4 as a starter or side, scale accordingly
- 1 small white or yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
- 3 cloves of garlic (still in the paper)
- 1 jalapeño
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 can (14-oz.) fire roasted diced tomatoes
(or about 4-5 fresh roma tomatoes, roast them with the onions & peel skins)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup (or a pinch of sugar)
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 3 cups veggie or chicken broth
- 3-4 corn tortillas*, chopped (plus one extra for crispy topping)
- juice of 1 lime
serve with your choice of:
- crispy tortilla strips (sliced from 1 tortilla, toss in olive oil & salt, bake 10 or so minutes)
- crumbled queso fresco (or feta)
- lime wedges, on the side
- more tortillas on the side (optional)
- avocado slices (optional)
*I mentioned above that I use frozen tortillas… if you freeze yours, just let them sit out to thaw before using.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On a large baking sheet, spread out the onion slices, the jalapeno (still whole), garlic cloves and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20-30 minutes until the edges of the onions blacken, tossing them about halfway through. Remove the garlic after about 5 minutes, so it doesn’t burn. Remove the jalapeno when the skin is blackened and blistering.
Place the roasted jalapeno in a small glass bowl with plastic wrap over it (but not touching it). Let it cool for 15 minutes and carefully peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds. (use utensils if you can, and don’t touch your eye afterward).
In a medium pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil, add the onions, garlic (remove the paper), jalapeno, tomatoes, oregano, cumin, chile powder, a splash of agave or a pinch of sugar, and some salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes start to sizzle.
Add a splash of sherry vinegar and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the broth and chopped tortilla pieces and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Transfer to a high speed blender and puree. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding in a squeeze of lime.
Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and the suggested toppings.
*photos by Love & Lemons