6 AM flight. Not too pleasant as you might have guessed. I always pretend it being night so I get an excuse from taking early morning showers. Plane was full and I managed to get a window seat luckily. I was hoping that no one comes in the middle seat so I can twist and twirl in my sleep without worrying if my head will be hitting someone’s shoulders making that person think boy! I wish I had missed my flight. The girl sitting in my row looked all happy and well groomed. I think it was how pretty she looked what caught my eye rather than how happy she was. First thing that shot my brain was, How in the world someone could possibly go through the pain of getting ready at such hour?! Not just ready, she had her hair curled, her face all covered with make up and yes unlike me who was helplessly trying to finish last drops of dark black coffee with apple pie, she had an apple. I felt pathetic.
I pledged I will try to be more healthy. Back home, armed with my recipe folder and computer I decided to go ahead and make Tortilla soup from Serious eats. It was all you can have in a comfort soup. Loaded with beans, poblano pepper, onions, corn and crispy tortilla it makes up for a hearty soup with lots of texture. Perfect on its own or with a baguette.
- 2 quarts low sodium vegetable or chicken stock (I substituted it with 6 cups of water)
- ½ large onion, split in half plus ½ large onion, finely chopped
- 3 mini corn ears, kernels removed from cobs and milk scraped from empty cobs
- 2 medium garlic cloves, whole plus 3-4 tsp garlic paste
- 3 whole dried ancho chillies, seeds and stems removed, flesh torn in strips (optional) ( I had none on hand but the soup still came out pretty spicy)
- 4-5 medium size ripe roma tomatoes, split in half
- 1 tbsp canola or any other vegetable cooking oil
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely diced
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Taco seasoning (optional)
- 2 tsps Ground cumin
- 2 tsps dried oregano
- ½ cup dried black beans, pressure cooked (Make sure they are soft)
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- Place water or stock, ½ split onion, empty corn cobs, whole garlic and ancho chillies in a big pot. Bring it to a boil over high heat and then let it simmer at low for 30 minutes.
- Discard onion, garlic, empty corn cobs. Strain the stock through a sieve and keep it aside.
- While the stock is simmering, adjust a rack to 4 inches below broiler element and turn on the broiler to high. Place tomatoes with cut side up on a oven proof pan lined with foil. Broil until charred on top surface and completely softened around 15-20 minutes.
- Combine roasted tomatoes, stock and ancho chillies (if using) in the bowl of blender and blend until it turns into a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a big pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add chopped onions, poblanos and corn kernels. Season with salt, pepper and taco seasoning and cook, mixing frequently until onions are softened but not browned. Add garlic paste and mix nicely and cook for about 30 seconds. Add cumin and oregano and mix. Add beans and cilantro (if using) and mix. Add the paste from the blender bowl directly or if you like it smoother, pass it through a strainer before pouring in.
- Whisk corn flour into soup and let it simmer so onions and poblanos are totally softened, around 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
- Serve garnished with crispy tortilla strips, cilantro or avocado.
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