Tortilla Soup, Moosewood Style with a Christine twist

This post is for my friend AMANDA, who decided she just might want to go vegetarian. This is a big leap for her, since I remember her eating chicken nuggets to get through teaching a Jazzercise class. Kudos to her for being able to teach and eat that greasy processed junk, but she’s not doing that anymore!

I sent her a bunch of links, but instead she’s just reading my blog. Wow! Huge compliment! I’m actually quite thrilled to have another reader, which means I probably have about 10 now. Thanks to all 10 of you.

So, since Amanda is a new vegetarian, I thought I’d include this little recipe for soup. My daughter bought us this book after a trip to McClure’s, our local used book store, one day when she was with my mother. It’s a terrific book and I highly recommend getting it for good, quick vegetarian recipes. It’s really designed with the working people in mind, with shortcuts or make ahead ideas to get a good dinner on the table. It’s written by vegetarian guru Mollie Katzen: Vegetable Heaven. We’ve made a few recipes, including the Beet Pilaf, so we knew this would be good.

You make the stock out of 3.5 cups of frozen corn, a bunch of cilantro and 6 cups of water, get it boiling and then let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, put 4 red peppers with 2-3 tomatoes (take the stem off) on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes at 375. Turn every 10 minutes. Let them cool.

Chop an onion, some hot peppers of your choice and about 3 garlic cloves.

At this point, you can do what I did, which was to set the timer for the remaining boiling/roasting time and tell your family “when the timer goes off, just turn everything off” and then go work out. Go run, go Jazzercise, go for a walk, whatever. That way, the food can cool.

When you get back, heat some oil in a pan and saute the chopped stuff you put back in the fridge for about 10 minutes. While that’s going on, take the pepper stems off and dump the seeds, then pulverize that stuff with the tomatoes, along with a cup or two of the broth, in a food processor. Dump the onion mixture and the roasted mixture in the pan, add whatever seasonings you like (cumin, cayenne pepper, etc etc.) and voila! Soup! Serve with crushed tortilla chips.

That’s the end of the Katzen version. We thought it was pretty good, but it needed a little help. Also, we decided the soup needed some extending for the next night. Plus, added protein couldn’t hurt. So, I bought a can of vegetable broth and a can of black beans. I pulled out the soup and put it back on the stove, put in the broth and the rinsed beans and added half a jar of salsa that needed to be used up. BINGO, the soup was now sublime.

Enjoy with guacamole or avocado. Or, if you’re like my family, a quesadilla!

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