This soup. Just, well it’s everything. If you’ve never used tortillas to thicken your soup you’ve got to do it. It’s genius as it makes it creamier without having to use cream! If a soup can be summery and still hot then this is it. It’s perfect for cities like Melbourne when you’re blessed with summer produce but there’s just as much chance of a cold 6 degree day in December as there is a 34 degree one. The toppings are out of control and the main reason for that summer vibe.
That and the fact that it’s a tomato soup. You can use canned if you like, and I’ve listed short cuts a couple of paragraphs below, but the flavour of the sweet roasted tomatoes and bullhorn pepper in this soup is out of control. If you can’t get a bullhorn pepper then just use a red capsicum and chuck a jalapeño in for the spice factor, or any chilli that isn’t SUPER hot. If you want it to not be spicy you could just use the red capsicum instead, you could also sub the hot paprika for sweet paprika.
This can be a vegetarian soup or you can add cooked shredded chicken to it. It’s an awesome way to use up left over roast chicken (you could also use a rotisserie chicken), and I got the basic idea for this soup from a recipe using chicken from Jessica Merchant’s Blog How Sweet It Is. Her tortilla soup has a bit more of a cheese focus than this one as I was trying to keep it a little lighter, I also added extra veg because, um I just have a habit of doing that. And because it’s summer here so I can have fresh grilled corn on everything if I want to. I love it with and without the chicken so if you don’t have any on hand you can go ahead and eat the soup without it.
The toppings. Let’s have a little chat about them. They add a burst of flavour (hello charred corn), freshness (those perfect radish slices) , creaminess (avocado, always) and saltiness (thanks feta). And all together it’s just a flavour party in your mouth. Oh I almost forgot the crispy tortilla strips – basically the best croutons ever!
Now, this recipe should take you all up about 1 hour and 10 minutes. If you want it quicker than that then you could use canned tomatoes, and just grill the capsicum in strips, but the flavour won’t be the same. You could also do this if tomatoes aren’t in season. If you want to do less processes you could also sub the charred corn for just steamed or frozen.
I’ve used a sharp aged cheddar in this as it gives plenty of flavour without needing to use a whole heap of it. But you can add cheese to your hearts desire if you’re feelingindulgent. I mean with in reason, it’s not a cheese soup okay!
1 kg tomatoes
1 red capsicum or red bullhorn chilli
1 jalapeño chilli (omit if using bullhorn chilli)
1 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup spring onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbs finely chopped coriander root and stem, finely chopped
1.5 tsp hot smoked paprika
2 tsps cumin seeds
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock/ bone broth
4 corn tortillas
1 cup freshly grated sharp aged cheddar
Optional: 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie or left over roast)
2 corn cobs
2 Tbs feta
2 radishes, finely sliced
1 avocado, finely sliced
2/3 cup coriander leaves
1 jalapeño, finely sliced
1/4 cup spring onion, finely sliced
1 lime, quartered
Crispy tortilla strips
2 tortillas, cut into 1 cm thick strips
2 tsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place tomatoes and bullhorn chilli/capsicum + jalapeño on the tray. Roast in the oven until skin has begun to blacken and they are collapsing, about 45 minutes. The bullhorn/capsicums stem should come out easily when gently pulled, if it does this, you know it’s all ready. Remove any stems and rub off the blackened skin, you don’t need to remove all of it just the particularly charcoaled bits!
You can make your crispy tortilla strips at this point.: Toss the strips with the oil to coat. Put a medium sized pan on medium high heat and once hot add the oiled strips. Cook, tossing regularly in the pan, until golden and crunchy. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
Now for the corn: Leave it in it’s husk, steam for 10 minutes. Remove the husk and then place on a grill plate or bbq. Allow the corn kernels to blacken slightly in spots. Take it off the grill, once cool enough to handle remove kernels from the cob and set aside.
Next, heat the olive oil in a large pot, once hot add the onion, coriander, garlic, cumin seeds and paprika. Cook for a couple of minutes until the onion has softened and the spices are fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and peppers to the onion, along with the stock. Bring to a boil and add the tortilla’s in torn up chunks. Simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and then blend until smooth in a blender (do it in batches if you need to) or alternatively you could use a stick blender.
Once very smooth return to the pot, turn the heat back on and once almost simmering add the cheese whilst stirring continuously. Once the cheese has been incorporated check seasoning. If you’re using the chicken add it at this point. Stir to heat through for a couple of minutes.
To serve, divide soup amongst bowls and layer on the toppings in the centre, leave the strips for last so they stay nice and crispy. Serve with the lime on the side to squeeze over just before eating. YUM