Spice Up Your Life With This Cold-Weather Recipe

Photo: Courtesy of Joy The Baker.
I openly admit that I really miss (I mean really miss) California Mexican food. I’ve made so many obscure tacos in my kitchen I might as well buy a taco truck and call it a career.

This soup, perfect for the dead of winter, pays homage to all my favorite Mexican ingredients — and it is spicy!

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Spicy Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
Makes 4 Generous Servings

For the soup
6 tbsp olive oil
5 corn tortillas, stacked and sliced into small strips
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, juice and all
4 cups vegetable broth
1 to 1 1/2 tsp salt, depending on your taste
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 (14-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and cut into small chunks or  fresh corn sliced from 2 ears of corn
1 small jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed and thinly sliced

For the topping
Corn tortillas (fried above)
4 radishes thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
Ripe avocado, sliced
Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Sour cream

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1. In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the tortilla strips in two batches, flipping and frying until crisp. Drain crisp strips on a paper towel, and set aside.

2. Reduce the heat to medium heat and add onions. Cook until translucent and just browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add paprika, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook for 1 minute more.

3. Add the crushed tomatoes, juice and all. Stir to combine. Add the chicken broth, salt, and a good sprinkling of black pepper. Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture until halfway to smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can carefully spoon the mixture into a blender to blend until smooth. Return back to the pot (if using  conventional blender) and heat over low heat.

4. Add beans, bell pepper (or corn), and jalapeño and lightly simmer until bell pepper is softened, about 20 minutes.

5. To serve, spoon into bowls and top with fried tortilla strips, slice radish, fresh cilantro sprigs, a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, a few slices of avocado, and sour cream.

Soup will last, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.

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