Essentially, this is another tortilla soup recipe, but you really haven't seen this one before! I made this last week in a fit of fall madness. You know, the madness that demands that you roll in the leaves and run in the wind and...make soup.
You can forget Not-Mindy's-Tortilla-Soup because we like this better. John and I prefer the taste, and the girls don't weep because it's too spicy. Cheers all 'round! It's quite similar, but less spicy, depending on how many sauteed jalapeños you add (or don't add) to your bowl; it has a hint of lime, a touch of spiciness, a smoky undertone thanks to the liquid smoke seasoning, and corn that rounds it all out with a bit of sweetness. We rarely have bacon, but the first time I made it, we had some left over from having visitors. We've had it since sans bacon, and it's still really yummy, but if you're anything like us, bacon makes just about anything better.
Add bacon, you vegetarians! Go ahead! You know you want to!
These are the amounts I wrote down the first time I made it. The second time I just threw all these ingredients in, to taste. If you want, do thou likewise.
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 large carrots, sliced into coins
6-8 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced or pressed
2 red peppers (or one red and one green or, sigh, NO peppers if your garden is now hibernating)
frozen corn (we used maybe half of a quart bag of garden corn)
4 jalapeño peppers, finely diced, if you like things hot (I saute and serve them separately)
4 cans black beans or the equivalent of freshly-cooked ones
4-6 cups chicken broth
tomatoes (we used one quart of canned garden tomatoes and a small can of store-bought, diced tomatoes; you can do the math)
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
healthy splash of lime juice
about 3/4 tsp. hickory smoke flavoring (We bought a bottle to make beef and chicken jerky ages ago, but we found it on a clearance shelf, so I don't really know where to find it. Look for some without preservatives and MSG.)
splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt
dried cilantro, to taste
Saute diced onion, carrots, and red/green sweet peppers in a bit of olive oil until onions are translucent and carrots begin to soften. Add minced garlic for the last minute. Puree (or if you have no gadget to puree, smush) half of the black beans into a smooth-ish paste along with a bit of chicken broth. Put the pureed beans into a big soup pot along with the remaining black beans, the chicken broth, the carrots, onions, and garlic, the corn, and liquid/dry seasonings. Okay, just add everything but the bacon, cheese, tortilla strips, and sauteed jalapeños to the pot. Warm it all through while you're making tortilla strips and bacon and sauteeing the jalapeños. Spoon into bowls and...
top the soup with
crisp, cooked crumbled bacon
shredded Monterey jack cheese
baked corn tortilla strips (see instructions at the bottom of this recipe)
finely diced jalapeños that have been sauteed in a bit of olive oil or butter
none of the above, although I highly recommend the bacon and tortilla strips.