My housemate’s mom likes to clip coupons. A lot. So much so that she has too much food for her own house, and sends the overflow to us. This has been challenging for me, because there is a ton of food to eat, but not much variety, and not things that I am necessarily used to cooking with.
Part of this food abundance is a TON of tomatoes. And as I’m not living with my best friend at the moment (and don’t have to take her tomato-intolerance into account), I’ve been cooking a lot of vaguely Mexican food. All the ingredients for enchiladas or tacos are already in the house, with the exception of vegetarian beans, which I’ve had to buy. (There was a very disappointing can of “Vegetable Classics” Progresso black-bean soup [with bacon]. Why did you get my hopes up like that Progresso!?).
As I have already gone the enchilada route this week, I thought I should branch out a little. I also wanted something warm and filling because it’s been so cold lately. So I made this tortilla soup. It’s quick to make (especially if you use all canned ingredients), is wonderfully warming, and can easily be personalized to your tastes.
Normally I’m all about fresh ingredients, but as I said I was making use of what I had in the pantry. Feel free to substitute in fresh ingredients, or completely different ones – it’s a very forgiving recipe.
As I prepare this, it’s really more of a stew than a soup (especially after you add all the toppings). I prefer a soup that requires a good deal of chewing – otherwise it just doesn’t seem satisfying enough to me. If you like a more soupy soup, you can up the amount of broth to thin it out.
1 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small jalapeño, finely chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
1 zucchini sliced into half-moons
salt and pepper to taste
Toppings (optional but highly recommended)
Tortilla chips (or fried tortillas)
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and jalapeño until the onions are translucent. Add the spices and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add the broth, beans, tomatoes (with juice) and corn, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes, then add the zucchini and continue cooking for five minutes until they are soft.
To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with whatever toppings strike your fancy.