Monday, October 3, 2011

The Soup Project: 38 Soup Recipes and Still Counting

Tortilla Soup with Corn and Red Beans

This soup is my ode to the last rays of summer. I'd wanted to make it for a long time. I wasn't really sure how make it, but I'd tasted a friend's version a few years ago, and I knew what I wanted. When I searched online, I found a number of recipes. If you can dream it up, someone else has already done it and I wanted to see how they tweaked the ingredients.

First there were a ton of recipes that relied on "chicken stock." I cut those out first. Then I found this vegetarian tortilla soup that featured canned tomatoes, canned corn and a cup of cheddar cheese. Way too predictable for me. Then I found this one with beef broth and pinto beans. I'm not quite sure why people feel the need to add meat stock to an otherwise fine recipe. Do they think they can't live without the flavor of meat in everything? Even with the meat broths, most of the tortilla soup recipes seem are tired and uninspired. Makes me wonder why so called "foodie" websites waste my time. I mean really--a can of this a can of that, we're seriously suffering from way too many insipid recipes in this country. Please All Recipes--and all the other so called "foodie sites" we don't need any more boring recipes.

River Farm from Ellensburg brings this big roaster to the U-District and West Seattle markets. The scent of roasting peppers is intoxicating. Everyone loves them. But the fire department--that's another story.

A few weeks ago Liz from River Farm said they now had to come up with $450 for a permit fee to roast their peppers. "Put a sign up," I'd said and they did.

Maybe somebody at the fire department should taste these amazing peppers.

Loyal customers ponied up the cash and River Farm paid this new fee.

I wanted to use fresh tomatoes as well as dried tomatoes in this soup. My dried tomatoes came from Deep Roots Farm at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market. The fresh tomato was blanched to remove the skin. (Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut out the stem and cut and X on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop in the water for 1 minute or until the skin peels back. Rinse in cool water.) I take the skin off because it doesn't add anything to the recipe and the bits of skin can be distracting, but if it doesn't bother you, skip this step.

You can also grill or roast your own red peppers if you can't buy fire-roasted at the market. The smokey flavor and corn broth make this soup special.

Most of the ingredients came from around here--not the avocado, salsa, lemon or chips. (I love the fresh salsa from Gathering Together Farm, and I'll get some at the Portland Farmers' Market if they have it this coming Saturday.) I also found a use for corn husks and cobs in this recipe. The milky corn husk broth form a basic layer of flavor in this soup.

I cooked the beans ahead of time, but you can also make this soup in a pressure cooker, cooking everything at once. I've mentioned Jill Nussinow's The New Fast Food in previous posts like this one. It's my favorite book this year. I really can't say enough about how pressure cooking has transformed my cooking syle.

Here is the recipe:

Tortilla Soup with Corn and Red Beans
(Serves 4)

2 ears of corn
4 to 6 cups water
1 small red onion
5 or 6 roasted peppers (use your favorite variety)
3/4 cup dried roasted tomatoes
1 large heirloom tomato, blanched, peeled and chopped
1 red potato, washed and diced
1 1/2 cups cooked red beans (or use 1 to 2 cans, drained, rinsed red beans)
1/4 cup salsa (your favorite variety)
1 teaspoon honey
Salt to taste
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
Lemon or lime juice
Tortilla chips

1. Husk the corn and remove corn from the cobs. Reserve corn; cut cobs into pieces, and place the husks and cobs in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid for the soup.

2. Peel and diced red onion and roasted peppers. Reserve.

3. Place corn broth, dried and heirloom tomatoes, potato, red beans, and salsa in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Adjust salt to taste.

4. Toss avocado with about 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice.

5. Place onions, peppers, avocado and chips in a soup bowl. Ladel soup over vegetables and chips.

He really only gets a few chips and he does the "prewash" on the empty bowl because onions are toxic for dog. I think he's eyeing the chips anyway.

Just in case you're in the mood for soup, here are 38 weeks of soup and counting. Just a few more months of my "Soup Project."

1. Sweet Potato and Kale Soup

3. Basic Soup Stock

4. Locro Guascho Argentino (white beans, sweet potatoes and hominy)

16. Red Velvet Soup (with beets)

38. Tortilla Soup with Corn and Red Beans (See recipe above)


Miz Helen said...

Those fresh roasted peppers would make your Tortilla Soup so delicious. This is a great post and I love your Soup Project. Thanks for sharing and hope you are having a great day!

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Thanks so much Helen, I love your full plate Thursdays; a very cool place to post recipes!

Meta Musings said...

that soup looks sooo fresh and delicious! yum!

Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra,
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you had a great week end and come back soon!
Miz Helen

Nancy Ging said...

Mmm, roasted peppers! Love 'em! This soup looks hearty and wonderful!

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Hey Nancy, you are such an inspiration for local cooking, I just used one of your soup recipes as fodder for this post. Thanks for visiting!

Debbie @ Easy Natural Food said...

This looks soooooo good! And what an amazing list of soups you've cooked! I'm so glad I found your blog (I've bookmarked it btw!) because I'm going to be hosting a blog carnival specifically for soups, stocks and chowders, starting this Sunday. I would love it if you would come over and post this recipe. Here's a link with more info.

I hope to see you there!

Chris said...

Hi Debra, thanks so much for the soup recipes. You just can't have enough of them. I recently found you and am now following. Please pop on over to mine and perhaps you would like to follow me also. I would love that. Hugs, Chris