Tortilla soup with avocado-corn salsa
Makes 5 cups - 4 servings
Under their dark pebbly skin, is the avocado's nutrient-dense pale green flesh. The mono- and poly-unsaturated "good" fats in avocados are recommended in heart-healthy diets. As a bonus for those on low-carb diets, there are just 3 grams of carbohydrates in a typical serving (1/5 of an avocado).
For the salsa
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons minced jalapeño pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 medium avocado, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup frozen shoepeg corn, thawed
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
½ red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk and leaves, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups canned chicken broth or vegetable stock (prepare using concentrate, cubes, or powder)
One 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes
One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt to taste
For the tortilla strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
Three 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut into ¼-inch strips
To make the salsa, whisk together the oil, lime juice, jalapeño pepper, garlic, and sugar in a small bowl. Gently stir in the avocado, corn, red onion, and cilantro. Season to taste; set aside.
To make the soup, heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and leaves, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Add the cumin; stir for about 30 seconds.
Stir in the chicken stock or vegetable stock, tomatoes, beans, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the parsley and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the tortilla strips. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tortilla strips in a single layer. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until the strips are lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Transfer the strips to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Top each bowl of soup with tortilla strips and a mound of the salsa.
This soup will keep for up to 5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. Prepare the salsa and tortilla strips the day of serving. Refrigerate the salsa in a covered container; store the strips in a tightly covered tin at room temperature.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.