Plant-based tortilla soup
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tam West
I’ve had a few great tortilla soups in the last year, including one in an unexpectedly great Mexican restaurant in a Singapore alleyway in the Arab quarter. The traditional version is made with chicken stock and often has cheese too, making this a perfect candidate for me to plant-ify. I love Mexican flavours, I love soup and I love tortillas, it’s a no-brainer.
Ideally this would be made with a couple of pasilla or ancho (the name for dried poblano) chillies. They have a deep rich flavour, but they’re tricky to find in NZ (check out Mexican Specialities or Kaitaia Fire or grow your own). I’ve used canned chipotles as a substitute, plus charred the tomatoes and capsicum under the grill first to boost that smoky flavour.
You can buy vegetable stock or make it yourself: Use a chopped large onion and carrot, the top halves and scraps of half a dozen celery sticks, and any leaves of kale and silverbeet looking sad in the fridge. If fresh corn is available you can also cut the kernels off to use in the soup and put the cobs in the stock pot for extra flavour. Simmer everything in a big pot for 30 minutes with 1½ litres water then strain before use.
|1 large||Green capsicum|
|1||Green chilli, mild|
|250 g||Sweet tomatoes|
|½ cup||Sweetcorn kernels|
|1||Onion, very finely chopped|
|3 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|½ tsp||Ground black pepper|
|6 cloves||Garlic, crushed|
|3 tsp||Cumin seeds, freshly ground|
|1 tsp||Dried oregano|
|1 Ltr||Vegetable stock|
|½ cup||Black beans, in their juice, cooked|
|1 cup||Tomato puree, or sieved passata|
|1||Chipotle chilli, canned, use up to 2, finely chopped|
|1 handful||Tortilla chips|
|1||Avocado, peeled and chopped, to serve|
|1 pinch||Coriander, to serve|
- Cut the capsicum and chilli in half, prick the tomatoes with a knife then lay on a baking tray with the corn kernels and grill under a very hot grill for 15 minutes, turning once or twice as the tops get charred.
- Meanwhile, saute the onion in olive oil in a pot on medium heat for 5 minutes until translucent but not browned, then add the garlic, cumin and oregano and cook for another minute. Add the vegetable stock, black beans, tomato puree, chipotle, salt and the charred corn from under the grill.
- Take half of this mixture and blend with all of the charred capsicum, chilli and tomatoes (this gives a lovely smooth texture). Add back to the rest of the soup and simmer for 15 minutes. If you do have dried pasilla or ancho chillies you can rehydrate these in the stock for 10 minutes first and blend them up too.
- To serve, break a small handful of tortilla chips into a bowl then ladle soup over the top. Top with chopped avocado, a drizzle of good olive oil and chopped coriander.