Vegan tortilla soup with New Mexico chiles

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Every year for Christmas dinner we have our "Traditional Non-Tranditional" meal. In the past we have had lasagna, crepes, tacos, or raviolis. This year our gathering will be small but cozy. I'm planning a Mexican theme and this tortilla soup was a great warm-up.

This spicy soup is the perfect meal for a cold winter night and, while you're making it, your kitchen will smell amazing! I love the fragrant peppers and sizzling onions and garlic. The recipe, as written, is somewhat light on veggies. Feel free to add corn or any of your favorites to make this even more hearty!

Recommendation: Serve over brown rice or another grain for a complete meal in one bowl.

Vegan Tortilla Soup
Serves about 6

3 large dried New Mexico chiles
1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
1 large sprig or 1 1/2 tsp dried epazote (optional)
2 cups cooked black beans
4 cups chopped greens (chard, spinach, or kale)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt

1 avocado, chopped
Chopped cilantro
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges

  1. Holding the chiles one at a time with metal tongs, quickly toast them by turning them an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until the aroma fills the kitchen. (Alternatively, toast chiles in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing them flat for a few seconds then flipping them over and pressing again.) When cool enough to handle, stem and seed the chiles, break them into pieces and put them in a blender along with tomatoes and their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chiles.)
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden. Add the onion and garlic to the blender with the tomato mixture. Process until smooth.
  3. Return the pot to medium heat. Add the puree and stir continuously until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add broth, water and epazote. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add the beans and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the greens and season with salt to taste. Cook until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes, depending on the type of greens.
  5. Serve garnished with cilantro, avocado, and a squeeze of lime.
(Inspired by Eating Well.)

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