Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Soup's on!

It's that time of year again when I can't get enough soup. Nothing is better on a damp wintery (wintry?) night than a steaming bowl of hot homemade soup. I've already blogged about some of my favorite soups: Butternut, Tortellini so this year I am going to expand my horizons a bit. On my list of soups to make this year: cauliflower, potato leek, carrot ginger, tomato...what are your favorite soups?
One that I've always secretly loved is Tortilla Soup, but have never had a vegetarian version so I decided to craft my own. It's sort of a vegetarian blend of my favorite parts of tortilla soup (large chunks of veggies, shredded cheese, crunchy tortilla strips) and posole (hominy, lime), with the addition of chipotle flavors just because. You can make it as spicy as you'd like with the addition of more chipotles or hot sauce and it is vegan without the topping of cheese.

Tortilla Soup with Hominy and Chipotle (vegetarian)
Serves 4-6 as main course
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth or water
1 can hominy
3 carrots, chopped into ½ inch pieces
¼ of a small green cabbage, chopped into 1-2 inch strips
6 small corn tortillas
1-2 tsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
Toppings: shredded cheese, avocado, lime, cilantro, diced tomatoes, sour cream, hot sauce

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, cumin, and chili powder and cook 5-10 minutes, until onions are tender. Add the tomatoes and chipotle peppers and stir to combine. Add broth/water, hominy, carrots and cabbage, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15-20 minutes.

2. While soup is simmering, prepare the tortilla strips. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut tortillas in half and then into ¼ inch thin strips. Toss in bowl with 1-2 tsp. oil, just until coated but not “soaked”. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, stirring at least once so that the strips cook evenly. When strips are golden brown, remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.

3. Serve hot with small bowls of toppings.