Sunday, February 20, 2011

Give Me Tortilla Soup! And Tamales! Lots and Lots of Tamales!

I've got a huge hunger for Mexican food fast approaching (as well as Korean and Middle Eastern...). I've been nourishing it so far with some of Amy's Black Bean Tamale Verde meals and this soup. Those tamales are seriously awesome! I never really thought I could love a frozen item as much as I love Amy's frozen dinners and burritos. In fact, I love those little tamales so much, that I'm going to make some tamales soon. Probably during Spring Break because I hear they're quite an event. My plan is to make a shit ton so that way I can freeze them and have a tamale whenever the urge arises. Luckily, here in my nook of Missouri it's super easy to get authentic Mexican spices, sauces, and corn husks, so I'm prepared to go all out!

Please, sir, may I have some more?

Anywho, the other thing that has been helping with my need for Mexican is this (probably-not-at-all-authenic) tortilla soup. I've made tortilla soup before and I really like it. It's not spiced like a chili and it has a bunch of tasty toppings on it that give it a little edge, so it's kind of a nice change from the usual bean soup. The awesome thing about it is if you just have some beans and a few ingredients, you can make a hearty meal pretty cheaply! You don't even need all the spices if you have plenty of salsa to give it flavor. I've even made this soup without the whole beans and just used a can of refried pinto beans with vegetable broth to thin it instead. It was awesome as well and it came together a little bit quicker. You also don't have to toast the corn, I just happen to really like toasty corn, lol.

This is one of those soups that's pretty good for leftovers as well. If you have some canned beans, leftover rice (or other grains), leftover bell peppers and onions, and some salsa you can have a soup in about 15 minutes!

Oh, and don't think I've forgotten about my ethnic cuisine adventures! I've been planning out what to make and I will be going grocery shopping in a couple days. Right now, in addition to some roasted veggie and black bean tamales, I kind of have my eye on some Indian aloo gobi (peas and potatoes) with homemade garlic naan, Middle Eastern mujadarah (lentils and carmelized onions) with cucumber-yogurt salad and roasted tomatoes (I've planned that one out a little more, lol), and some veganized Korean bibimbap. I've also really been wanting some roasted veggie and bean spread roll-ups to take with me to school. I'm supposed to be getting a food processor in the mail, so I hope it comes soon. I NEED HUMMUS.

I hope you all enjoy muh soup. Oh, and one last thing: if you use only small red beans and add 3 Tb. of canned tomato paste, a little bit of finely chopped zucchini, about 1/2 tsp. of smoked paprika and some black pepper, this tastes ALMOST EXACTLY like Amy's Spanish Rice and Red Bean Soup! Have a great day!

Tortilla Soup:
1/3 c. dry pinto beans
1/3 c. dry kidney beans
1/3 c. dry small red beans
1/3 c. long-grain brown rice
1/2 a green bell pepper, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 Tb. minced garlic
1 c. frozen corn, thawed, with the water squeezed out
1/2 c. salsa of choice
1 can green chiles
1 (16 oz.) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
3/4 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 Tb. dried cilantro
1/2 Tb. raw sugar (optional, to taste)
1 Tb. lime juice
Vegetable broth

1. Place the pinto, kidney, and small red beans in a large soup pot. Rinse and pick through. Cover with enough water to have about 1 inch above the bean line. Cover, bring to a boil and boil for three minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for about 1 hour.

2. Rinse beans and give them enough fresh water to cover them about 1 inch above the bean line. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.

3. Meanwhile, toast the corn in a small skillet sprayed with nonstick over high heat. Let it toast over high until it gets golden brown, or even a little black. Add it to the simmering beans.

4. Wipe out the skillet and spray it with some more nonstick. Saute the bell pepper and onions until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add them to the simmering beans.

5. Add the brown rice, salsa, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, corinader, cilantro, and sugar to the simmering beans and allow everything to simmer together for about 45 more minutes (add the rice after the beans have been cooking for 15 minutes so the rice and beans get done at the same time).

6. Once the beans and rice are done, add the crushed tomatoes and give everything a good stir. If the soup is too thick, you can thin it to your desired thiness by adding some vegetable broth or water. Cover the soup and allow everything to simmer another 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and serve! I usually leave mine kind of thick.

Serve topped with baked strips of tortilla shell (cut 1/4 inch thick strip and bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes), vegan sour cream, and avocado cubes if desired. Of course, it's the extras that help make it taste more amazing! I didn't have anything like that at home, so I just served it with some sourdough Wasa crackers instead! This recipe makes about 6, one-cup servings.

When made as is (no added oil and not including any toppings), a one-cup portion of this soup has about 160 calories, 0.6 grams of fat, 8.5 g. fiber, 8.2 g. protein, 28% of your daily Vitamin C, and 9.5% of your daily iron.

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