Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bring on the Soup

My husband loves a good tortilla soup.  Our kids are very anti-soup.  This leads to much negotiation when soup-season rolls around.  I am fairly ambivalent about soup, but I enjoy the fact that it means I don't have to cook for two or three days - a definite plus with my currently busy schedule. 
I am currently very nostalgic for Fall.  We are having a bit of an endless summer here in Seattle and so although it is still close to 70 every day (unheard of for October), I have decided to dig into Fall food.  I talked my grandparents into growing sugar pie pumpkins this year, and they got a bumper crop, so now I find myself with many, many pumpkins that need to be eaten.  I'm not really a pumpkin-spice-dessert kind of gal, so I am having to use pumpkin more in "hidden" ways.  Yesterday I made really great pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  Today I tossed some pumpkin puree into our soup.  In case you didn't know, pumpkin is highly nutritious.  It is full of potassium and Vitamin A in particular.  So it certainly doesn't help to throw a cup of it into food here and there.  I tweaked my usual tortilla soup recipe a bit today and it turned out great - even in vibrant, Fall colors.  Here is the recipe, in case you too have a bunch of pumpkin puree to use creatively:

Slow-Cooker Tortilla Soup
28 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
10 oz can of mild green enchilada sauce
1 orange pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium/large yellow onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 4-oz can of green chiles
1 can of broth (use vegetable for vegetarian option)
1 cup water
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 Tbls fresh cilantro chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chile powder (more for spicier soup, substitute with paprika for milder soup)
1 can white or black beans (use one can each of both kinds of beans for vegetarian option)
1 can corn (or one small bag of frozen corn)
2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded (omit for vegetarian option)

In a medium slow cooker, combine all but beans, corn and chicken.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2.5 hours.
Add beans, corn, chicken and cook for one more hour on low.
About 30 minutes before soup is done...
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut about 15 corn tortillas into 1/2" strips, brush lightly with olive oil.  Lay on foil-lined cookie sheet.  Bake until crunchy, moving them around periodically so all sides are cooked evenly.

Serve soup by ladeling into bowls and topping with tortilla strips, fresh chopped avocados, shredded jack cheese and/or sour cream. 

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