Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Creamy Tortilla Soup with Chickpeas and Corn {Vegetarian}

Day 264. 

I am a huge fan of all things Mexican, and tortilla soup is one that I've always enjoyed. But, alas, it almost always has some sort of chicken or other meat when you try to order it out. I've made a taco soup with ground beef substitute, but hadn't yet tried a chicken version. This creamy version just looks fantastic to me. All I needed to change was a swap of the chicken to chickpeas and the chicken stock for veggie stock. I also increased the garlic a tad and used chiles I could find (they didn't have Aji Amarillos at my market).

Creamy Tortilla Soup with Chickpeas and Corn
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 yellow chiles (I used Hungarian wax chiles), seeded & stemmed
  • 4 corn tortillas, ripped into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes with chilies (I subbed 2 cups leftover Roasted Corn Salsa for this and the corn)
  • 4 cups Easy Slow Cooker Vegetable Broth
  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese, shredded
garnish options:
  • sour cream
  • corn tortillas, cut into strips and fried
  • lime wedges
  • cheese
Heat olive oil in a medium Dutch oven (or deep, heavy pot) over medium heat; sauté onions and garlic for about 3 minutes, or until softened and just beginning to color. Add tortillas, chiles, and spices and sauté for another few minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in tomatoes with their juices and the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let bubble gently for 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.  Purée in batches in a blender until smooth.  If desired, strain back into dutch oven. Add chickpeas and corn and bring back to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in sour cream and cheese. Season to taste with salt.

The Results

The creeping heat description that Heather gives is so accurate. It's one of those that you initially don't truly realize is going to be spicy. Then it subtly creeps up on you. I absolutely loved the flavor and the bites of chickpeas in the creamy soup. I thought it might be a little on the spicy side for the kids, but they enjoyed it as a dip for their fried tortilla strips.

The only downside to this soup, for me, is the flavors ended up reminding me a lot of curry, which isn't exactly what I want in my tortilla soup. I think, if i were to make it again, I'd replace the turmeric and cumin with taco seasoning mix. This time, I just mixed in a bit of tomato salsa in my bowl.


  1. Intiguing. Could a person use any kind of chiles for this soup?

  2. Ooops, I misspelled intriguing, it's early, but you get the idea.

  3. As a Texan in NYS, I am always looking for Mexican-leaning dishes! This sounds (and looks) scrumptious. I will try it out tonite, along with handmade flour tortillas (my Dad sends me the masa preparada in a quarterly CARE package). Cumin is a standard spice in Mexican dishes - I even put a tad of it in my guacamole - so I will leave that in, but turmeric does not belong in the mix (though I love it, too). I love corn, especially living here in the middle of thousands of acres of corn fields, but I highly recommend to everyone trying out hominy in place of regular corn in Mexican dishes. Especially yellow (or golden) hominy, which seems to hold its texture a bit more than the white. This is dried field or cattle corn soaked in alkaline solution and then washed well, canned. I can even find it up here in most of the groceries, either in canned vegetables or Ethnic foods. This is not grits, which is ground white hominy cooked like rice or oatmeal. There is nothing else that tastes and smells like hominy - freshly popped popcorn is similar, but the taste is totally different.

  4. @Debra--Yes, I think you could use, within reason, just about any chile you like the flavor of...I think a jalapeno or dried chipotle would work just fine. If you don't like heat, a gypsy or bell pepper could work, too.

    @LB I think it was the turmeric that made it taste off to me, too. My taco seasoning mix is heavy in cumin, so I think that flavor would still be pretty dominant. I like your suggestion about the hominy, too. It's not something I use a lot, but it's definitely a great flavor in Mexican dishes.

  5. I'm excited to try this out. We're not a vegetarian family, but I do try to include several meals a week that are meatless-- both for cost purposes and health purposes. This looks delicious, and I think I have all the ingredients on hand. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. This sounds so good - can't wait to try it! I think Smoked paprika might be a good swap out for the turmeric.