Quick Tortilla Soup

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2 as a meal, 4 as a first course Medium
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Ingredients (15)

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 C. water
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) whole peeled plum tomatoes, chopped coarsley (with juice)
  • 1/2 C. cooked calypso beans (or canned black beans)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 C. nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 C. chopped cilantro

Summary

This recipe for tortilla soup is novel on many fronts. For starters, it is vegetarian, and even vegan if you leave off the yogurt garnish. Second, it is water-based, so you don’t have to have any canned or homemade stock on hand to throw it together. Third, it comes together in about 30 minutes. Finally, it requires no frying in hot oil — the tortilla strips become enticingly crisp in the oven, tossed with a small amount of olive oil and spiked with lemon and smoky paprika.

The soup has remarkable depth of flavor for something that comes together so quickly. It secret lies in the use of smoked paprika — when used judiciously, this pantry staple adds smokiness and savor. I bought mine at Penzey’s — while some smoked paprikas I’ve bought have fallen flat, their version is nice and potent. A teaspoon is all you need for a nice dose of je ne sais quoi.

Instructions

  1. 1Heat the olive oil and garlic in a medium (3-quart) saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. 2When the garlic begins to bubble around the edges, add the onion, celery, carrot, paprika, cumin, and salt. Turn heat up to medium and saute for about five minutes, until the onions are softened but not browned.
  3. 3Add the water, tomatoes, and beans. Bring up to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes. (While your soup is simmering, prepare the Crunchy Tortilla Strips following the recipe below.)
  4. 4Turn off the heat, add lemon juice, and stir.

Crunchy Tortilla Strips:

4 corn tortillas
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Slice tortillas in half, then cut into 1/2″ ribbons.

3. Spread out the tortilla strips on the parchment-lined baking sheet, then evenly sprinkle them with the remaining ingredients.

4. Toss tortilla strips to coat evenly.

5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

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