Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

This is a vegetarian version of Mexican traditional Tortilla soup. Addition of hominy makes this soup a complete meal. 

Blog's Category: International, Soup, Vegetarian




Intro

Mexican cuisine is one of my favorite. I like its full-bodied flavors, spiced, bold nature. Tortilla soup is dear to my heart especially, because it reminds me my Ukrainian borsch, but a little spicier, with some typical to Mexican cuisine flavors of cumin and corn tortilla.

I especially adore corn tortilla flavor. Buying pack of fresh corn tortillas at store, smell that unique aroma! 

I added hominy to this version of tortilla soup to emphasize Mexican nature of soup and add one more interesting flavor and texture to a dish.   

What is it?

It is tomato-based soup, with an onion-carrot-capsicum mirepoix, canned hominy and, of course chili powder, cumin and some cayenne pepper for a kick. 
But the best part of this dish is garnish - some cheddar cheese, sour cream, fried corn tortilla strips, fresh cilantro and avocado. Each garnishing element is a must! Actually, the soup is going to survive with some of them taken out of list, and still will be great. Although, for the best experience try all of them.


Taste Description

This soup is very satisfying, flavors are bold and multidimentional - just think of the incredible combination of cooked and fresh ingredients of all sorts, mix of textures and aromas! I'm sure, if you will follow instructions below, you'll love this soup!

How to Serve/Store

Base soup (without garnishing ingredients, can be stored in a fridge for about a week. AS for garnishing ingredients, store toasted tortilla chips in a closed container in a cupboard. Always use freshly chopped cilantro and freshly sliced avocado. 

Notes

- If you don't care about vegetarian version, use chopped cooked chicken meat for this tortilla soup. Add it exactly when I add hominy in this recipe.

- You can find large cans of hominy in a Mexican (international) section of your grocery store.



Tortilla Soup



For about 1 gallon of soup:
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 large can of white hominy, drained
  • 1 large can of whole tomatoes, blended (or use canned chopped or pureed tomatoes)
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (or more) red chili pepper flakes or 1/3 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tbs mild chili powder
  • 2-3 tbs sugar (to taste)

    For garnishing:
    • cilantro, chopped 
    • several corn tortillas
    • sour cream
    • avocado, chopped or sliced
    • cheese, grated 

    - In a large pot, pour olive oil and cook onion, carrots and bell pepper for a 3 minutes, stirring.

    - Add garlic and spices and stir for a one more minute.

    - Add blended tomatoes. Cook for a 3 minutes on a medium low heat.

    - Add about 2/3 of a gallon water, bring to a boil. Turn heat down, add drained hominy, salt and sugar and simmer for 15 minutes.

    - Prepare corn tortilla by cutting it in 1/2" strips and frying in a frying pan, on a medium heat, with a little olive oil, stirring constantly, until it's crunchy, golden and fragrant.

    - Pour soup in a bowl, garnish with cilantro, cheese, sour cream, avocado and tortilla crisps and serve immediately.

    - Enjoy!


    
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    IN PICTURES

    Onion is already down there, .. here comes a carrot..
    .. and bell pepper

    .. and minced garlic



    It's hominy (maize), it has a dense starchy texture and has unique distinct flavor. 

    I usually stock up on these plum whole tomatoes.  They have a good use in my kitchen as blended, chopped or whole depending what particular recipe calls for.

    ..and cumin

    .. and chili powder

    .. and finally tomatoes.



    Before turning heat off, always taste your soup. Add sugar to balance tomato acidity and may be some salt and pepper.

    chopped cilantro

    tortilla, cut in strips

    It's your choice how much oil to add for toasting of tortilla. It can be zero up to 4 tablespoons. I like to add about 1 tablespoon.

    Stir constantly to get even "tan"

    Can you smell the wonderful corn tortilla aroma from there?


    For a help-yourself style, serve all garnishing ingredients in a middle of a table just like this..

    cheddar fall..