While home for spring break, my mom and I tested out a new recipe, which is something we often do together. Perusing my saved recipes on Instagram, I came across one from the New York Times for a vegetarian tortilla soup that I'd been wanting to try. It was created by Alison Roman of "The Stew" fame, so I knew it would be packed with flavor.
The recipe was easy to follow. Most of the work involved chopping the onions, garlic, and jalapeño. I began by sautéing them in vegetable oil and cooking them until they were translucent. After the vegetables were cooked, I mixed in the spices. The recipe called for chile powder, but I didn't have any, so I used cayenne pepper instead.
After the spices marinated with the vegetables, I added the chopped chipotles in adobo sauce and a can of drained and crushed tomatoes. The recipe called for two cans of chipotles in adobo sauce, which my mom and I thought was going to blow our socks off, but I added them anyway. I cooked all of this until the tomatoes caramelized and then added the vegetable broth, corn, and water. I brought it all to a simmer and then reduced the heat to low for 20 minutes.
The only time consuming thing about this recipe was waiting for all of the flavors to meld together. It was definitely worth the wait.
The recipe called for a variety of toppings, such as sour cream, limes, avocado, fresh cilantro, crumbled queso fresco, and tortilla strips. Instead of just using sour cream on its own, I decided to make a Mexican crema, inspired by a creamy mantequilla that my roommate introduced me to. I mixed an 8 oz container of sour cream with 1/2 cup of heavy cream and a bit of lemon juice. It was absolutely heavenly with the powerful flavors of the soup.
At first taste, we were blown away. It was so incredibly flavorful, but almost burned our mouths from the spice. It was so hot that my mom was sweating while we ate the soup. It was overwhelming and we knew immediately that one can of chipotles in adobo sauce would have sufficed. The soup was still delicious and the different flavors worked well together. The crema, lime, cheese, and avocado defused the heat of the soup a bit and added a creamy texture.
The recipe called for me to make my own tortilla strips, but I was feeling a bit lazy, so we bought them from the grocery store. I'm sure the homemade ones would have been better, but the store bought worked as well.
This soup is the perfect thing to make on a chilly winter day and definitely warmed us up with all of the heat from the chipotles in adobo and jalapeño.
I'm definitely not a vegetarian, but I wasn't missing meat at all in this soup. The variety of vegetables gave the soup incredible depth and a richness to the broth. I will definitely make this recipe again, next time with a little less spice.