My New Mexican living sister, Haidi, is my source for all my Southwestern cooking inspiration, from simple salsas to seasonal soups. This recipe is one of her creations that I’ve adapted for our family with great success.
From my experience, anyone who dip a spoon into a bowl of harvest tortilla soup is an instant fan, won over by either the slightly smoky chicken broth or the crispy fried tortilla strips that are heaped on top. Personally, I love that the soup contains a good amount of vegetables and they are all in season right now.
I hope you’re ready to get on board with autumn soups, because we happen to love them around here. Harvest tortilla soup needs to be ladled into bowls and enjoyed around your table this fall.
Tortilla soup. It’s not something you’ll find on a menu very often, especially here in Canada. It’s almost like a lighter version of chili but with just as much – if not more – flavour. This version relies strictly on fresh ingredients to build flavour, which I’ll explain further on in the post.
Freshly harvested vegetables play a starring roll in this soup (and a few California avocados, too. Heh). Zucchini and tomatoes are still ripening in my garden, while the markets continue to tout corn, garlic and onions. All are at their peak.
To build a bold flavour base for the soup, we char the tomato, onion and garlic under a broiler, then blend them together and slowly cook the smoky puree in a pot. Chicken stock thins out the broth; I use a homemade brown chicken stock, but anything you have is fine. You could even use a robust vegetable broth.
Into the broth goes the garden fresh zucchini and corn, along with a few black beans and shredded chicken. After a short simmer, the base is finished and ready for garnishes.
Strips of corn tortillas, baked until crispy, are the real highlight of the toppings selection, but almost as craveable are the fresh cilantro sprigs and diced avocado cubes. A squeeze of lime and a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche complete the bowl of soup and it is ready to enjoy.
Once you make the recipe through completely a few times, the method will come quickly and easily and you won’t need the recipe. I find I adapt it a little differently each time, depending on what I have on hand. I don’t always put beans or corn, and often the vegetables outnumber the chicken.
My sister Haidi likes to add a little cooked quinoa to thicken the soup and she frequently adds a can of green chilies, like a true New Mexican. I say, adapt the recipe to suit your taste and diet – just don’t leave off those delicious toppings.
|Harvest Tortilla Soup|| |
- 12 corn tortillas
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium white onion, peeled
- 4 Roma tomatoes, cored
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 8 cups dark chicken stock
- 2 small zucchini, green or yellow, diced
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 cob of corn, about 1 cup of kernels
- 3 cups shredded chicken
- 2 limes
- 1 avocado
- 2 green onions
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, washed and dried
- sour cream or crème fraîche
- To make the essential topping of crispy tortilla strips, preheat the oven to 350F. Brush each tortilla generously with olive oil (you will use about 2 tablespoons total). Stack the tortillas four high and cut them into 3/4 inch strips with a sharp chefs knife. Scatter them around a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-22 minutes or until dark golden and crispy. Cool.
- Preheat a broiler and place an oven rack on the highest level. Cut the onion into 6 wedges and toss in a cast iron pan. Quarter the tomatoes and add them to the pan as well, along with the whole garlic cloves. Place on the top rack of the oven and broil for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally. The vegetables don't need to be cooked, just blistered and charred. Remove from broiler and cool slightly.
- Carefully transfer the broiled vegetables to a blender along with any and all juices. Cover the blender with a lid and puree until smooth. In a large pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Carefully tip the pureed vegetables into the oil and cook for 10 minutes over medium low heat. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile, tip a little chicken stock into the blender to clean out every bit of goodness.
- Pour all of the stock into the pot and add the diced zucchini. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes until the zucchini is tender (this is when I prep the rest of my toppings).
- Tip in the beans, corn and chicken; stir to combine. Simmer for 3-4 minutes longer. Season with salt to taste. Your harvest tortilla soup base is now ready.
- Prep your toppings: slice limes, dice the avocado, and finely chop the green onions. Place everything in bowls, along with the cilantro and the crispy tortilla strips. Serve up the soup in large bowls and present the toppings on the side. To enjoy, heap up avocado, green onion and cilantro onto the soup. Squeeze lime all over and top with a handful of crispy tortilla strips. Finish with a dollop of crème fraîche and enjoy.
We’re heading into autumn! From the talented group of bloggers behind our monthly #EatSeasonal project, here are eight more recipes to help you make the transition from summer cooking to fall. Tag your cooking and baking with #EatSeasonal on Twitter and Instagram to join in.
Coconut Curry Cauliflower Rice Bowls by Kitchen Confidante
Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake by Floating Kitchen
Homemade Pumpkin Pasta by Bless this Mess
Melon and Raspberry Soda Float by Letty’s Kitchen
Ratatouille Lasagna by Flavor the Moments
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Carrots and Radishes by Vintage Mixer
Peach Muffins with Pecan Streusel by Cafe Johnsonia
Pear and Fig Tarts with Goat Cheese and Honey by Food for My Family
Happy seasonal eating in September, friends.