Of all the reasons for blogging, there’s no contest, the greatest fringe benefit is the people, this amazing community of thoughtful individuals who are interested in other people’s stories and find enjoyment in good food (and sometimes even become real-life friends, inviting us into their homes). Does it get old to hear we’re so thankful for each of you out there? Because we are. We’re so inspired by other bloggers, and we’re so blessed by those of you who read here. In fact, just as we get to know certain bloggers by following their sites, we’ve found we get to know certain readers by their consistent comments—we start to remember so-and-so as the one who likes gluten-free recipes or the one who always has something encouraging to say. One such reader is the ever kind and supportive Marie Matter of the Little Kitchie blog, who inspired today’s recipe for creamy, comforting tortilla soup so good, I had tears in my eyes while I ate it yesterday, and not just because of the kick of cayenne.
So Marie is one of those sweet readers who, like many of you, has left enough meaningful comments here that we’ve started to think of her as part of our regular online community. She and I are connected on Google+ (which, yes, I know, is yet another social network in this tempestuous sea of ever-increasing social networks, but, listen, have you read Irvin Lin’s post on Google+ from last year? Or do you know about the implications of Google authorship? It kind of blows my mind). So when Marie linked to her version of Neiman Marcus’s tortilla soup, which she describes as not your “normal brothy tortilla soup” but “ultra-thick (like the texture of a chowder) because it’s thickened with corn tortillas,” I was so in—especially when I looked at the ingredients list and realized I had basically everything it called for on hand.
As if Marie’s description and these photos weren’t enough to send you straight to the kitchen, let me also add this: when Tim and I ate bowls of this yesterday afternoon, we couldn’t stop saying out loud over and over again how perfectly good it was, exactly the chowder-like consistency Marie described, hot and spicy and flavorful and right. When we were done, I just sat there, looking at my empty bowl, thinking how wonderfully satisfying and comforting a creamy bowl of soup could be for a girl, and how, in the way that it fills you up and makes you warm inside, it can also be just the tool to point your heart towards thanks and joy. I truly feel so thankful when I think about this meal, which is exactly how we feel when we think of you—and the many moments like these you and your words have brought (and bring!) to our lives. Thank you.
There’s this taco place in Nashville, Mas Tacos, which has daily specials like fried avocado tacos or quinoa and sweet potato tacos, and which makes a chicken tortilla soup that is one of my favorite soups anywhere, ever. While that version has a thinner broth and crisp tortilla strips and this version has a thick broth and softened tortilla pieces, I think I’m noticing a trend. Tortillas in soup = always a good thing.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
a couple hefty dashes of cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 cup organic strained tomatoes (the kind we buy)
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
4 sprouted corn tortillas, or some other version, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup raw, grass-fed whole goat milk (optional. can be left out completely or swapped with whatever milk you like)
2 avocados, diced (place 1/2 avocado on each bowl)
Shredded cheese, to taste (we used sheep’s milk Pecorino we had on hand)
In a large pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add the diced onion and red pepper, and cook until soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic cloves and spices (cumin, salt, chili powder, oregano, cayenne) and saute another few minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth and water; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add torn tortilla pieces.
Let soup cook and reduce for an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the milk if desired and adjust seasonings to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and top with avocado (about half an avocado on each bowl) and shredded cheese.