Eat Seasonal: Harvest Tortilla Soup

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.

Harvest Tortilla Soup || Simple Bites

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.

Harvest Tortilla Soup recipe | Simple Bites

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.

Harvest Tortilla Soup recipe | Simple Bites

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.

Harvest Tortilla Soup recipe | Simple Bites

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.

Harvest Tortilla Soup recipe | Simple Bites

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
5.0 from 3 reviews
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Serves/Yield: Serves 6
Ingredients
  • 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
  • garnish:
  • 2 limes
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, washed and dried
  • sour cream or crème fraîche
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Harvest Tortilla Soup recipe | Simple Bites

Eat Seasonal

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.
September seasonal recipe round-up | Simple Bites

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.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. I’m very down with Autumn soups! I actually miss making soups in the Summer. Loving all the veggies in here (and of course those crunchy tortilla strips on top!). I think September is so dreamy, with it’s mix of Summer and Fall produce. It’s a cooks dream! Cheers, friend!

  2. Hey girl this looks so good! I love things like this!

  3. Delicious! Tortilla soup is definitely one of our go-to meals. I love your sister’s idea of adding quinoa and canned green chiles. My grandma lived in NM for about 10 years and when she moved back north, she was still putting green chiles in everything. I love it!

  4. I’m so ready for autumn soups and I love anything Mexican food related! This soup sounds so flavorful with the brown chicken stock and I love all the produce that’s packed in here. I’d need an entire bowl of those tortilla chips on the side, too! 🙂

  5. I love a good tortilla soup! Love the extra veggies in this recipe. 🙂

  6. What a great recipe! Tortilla soup is one of my all time favorites and I especially love it that your recipe tells how to char the tomatoes, garlic, and onions–this broth looks delicious!

  7. I am SO adding this to our weeknight rotation – I just love tortilla soup and this looks especially good with the charred tomatoes!

  8. Wonderful! Tortilla soup has been the best way to introduce “crunchy” soups to my boys 🙂 I can’t wait to try your version. Thank you for the amazing round-up!

  9. Your soup is gorgeous but can we also talk about the color of your dutch oven for a minute?! It’s perfection 🙂

  10. Amazing! I super like the tortilla soup, can’t wait to let my husband try this one. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I think we may try this tonight!

  12. This sounds great for the chilly weather we’ve been having lately, perfect comfort food. I love the shot of all the gorgeous fresh produce, the colors are just amazing when everything is vine ripe so to speak!

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