Who said soup has to be boring? This is a delicious recipe, and one that I have been making (with lots of variations) over the years. It’s easy to put together and you don’t need specialist ingredients like chipotle chillies (quite common in Mexican soups). The original recipe from an ancient Sainsbury’s magazine, was for a vegetarian Mexican soup, and became my go to recipe when I had to feed vegetarian house guests and wanted a one pot hearty meal. It was always a winner.
Mexican Soup with Crushed Tortilla
My version from last week had chicken, but it’s perfectly delcious without. It freezes well, so worth making a bigger batch. I do use canned tomatoes (see the Plan & execute tab) and unless you have cooked beans lying around, use tinned beans. I do find that organic tinned beans contain fewer additives. I often have cooked chickpeas in my freezer (I cook my own for hummus, another recipe to post soon!) so those would work too.
You can use homemade chicken stock, it’s definitely better nutritionally (see link to homemade stock in notes below), but this is one soup where the flavours are quite strong, so stock concentrate or Marigold powder works absolutely fine.
I am certain that the orignal Mexican recipe would have used fried strips of tortillas rather than tortilla chips. However in the interest of time, and to add some crunch, a few tortilla chips (and “few” being the operative word!) to act like croutons, is all you need.
This is a chunky soup, so although you can use a food processor to chop the veggies, it’s quite easy to chop by hand.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan or deep casserole. Add the onions, celery, and carrot and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown.
Add the garlic and chilli cook for 30 seconds. Then add the cumin, coriander and chilli powder, (if using). Stir in the courgette and sweetcorn and cook for another 4 minutes or so.
Add the stock and tomatoes with their juice and bring the soup to a boil. Then lower the heat and cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
If using chicken, remove the skin and chop into small bite sized pieces. Heat a frying pan with a little olive oil and stir fry the chicken pieces. Add some paprika and salt to taste. Add chicken to the soup before taking the soup off the heat.
Check seasoning. Depending on the saltiness of the stock, you might need to adjust the seasoning.
Portion the hot soup into wide bowls, topped with the cubed avocado, a dollop of sour cream, broken tortilla chips and fresh coriander. Serve with a wedge of lime.
- Cumin - A lot of Mexican and Middle Eastern recipes call for cumin powder. There’s a subtle difference in flavour in roasted cumin and unroasted cumin. I personally prefer the flavour of the former. If you happen to have only unroasted cumin, I recommend putting it in before adding liquids and letting the spice “bloom” in the oil to release flavour. Spices like turmeric, cumin and chilli “bloom” i.e. give out flavour only when cooked in oil, so if you add them towards the end of cooking time in a recipe, they often taste raw and don’t quite have the effect that you are looking for.
- Don't buy sour cream just for this recipe. If you have any cream or creme fraiche use that in lieu, by combining it with an equal amount of plain yoghurt and leaving it to sit on the counter for 20-30 min before using.
- If you buy chicken with skin, don't waste the skin click here to use it!