Monte Vista is the area where my grandmother’s home in San Antonio is located. It is the house where I learned about spices and deep flavor profiles in cooking. It is the house my father grew up in and now it belongs to me. When my husband and I first met, I would make a big pot of Monte Vista Tortilla Soup for the two of us, while Ric sat on a stool in the kitchen and played his guitar for me – it was magic.
Monte Vista Tortilla Soup
Hearty and rich, this soup can be made a number of ways. If the cream and cheese are left out, it is a wonderful low-fat vegan soup, add roasted or poached chicken for an amazing *chicken tortilla soup – it’s delicious whichever version you chose!
|Monte Vista Tortilla Soup|
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup onion, diced
- ½ cup bell pepper, diced (this time I used ¼ cup roasted poblano pepper and ¼ cup fresh green bell pepper)
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced fine
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ tablespoon fresh oregano
- ½ teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (sweet, not hot)
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (adjust to your taste)
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (fire roasted are best)
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I make a vegetable stock with water and a one or two Rapunzel herb bullion cubes)
- 6 corn tortillas torn in 1 inch pieces
- ¾ cup heavy cream (optional)
- ½ to 1 cup Colby Jack, Monterey Jack or Velveeta cheese (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped coarse
- Sauté onion, pepper, celery and carrot in the olive oil until tender.
- Add the garlic and all of the spices except for the cayenne pepper and cook for a minute or two to release the flavors.
- Add tomatoes and broth and bring to boil.
- Toss in the corn tortillas, turn the heat down and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Just before serving, add cream and cheese and warm the soup thoroughly until cheese is melted and incorporated.
- Stir in the cilantro and half of the cayenne pepper, taste for desired spiciness and add more if you prefer more heat.
- Garnish with tortilla strips or chips, sour cream, fresh cilantro and even some diced avocado.
- * For Chicken Tortilla Soup - 10 minutes before serving, add 2 cups roasted or poached chicken that has been shredded or cubed and use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.