Summer soup from south of the border

It’s the beginning of tomato and corn season at my local farmers’ market, so it’s time to think about tortilla soup! It is easy to consider soup a winter delight, but this soup might transform your thinking with its delicate but complex flavors and its summery toppings.

Tomatoey tortilla soup

Blog posts on Kahakai Kitchen and 101 Cookbooks along with a recipe from a friend (thanks, Lavina!) inspired this fresh-tasting soup.

If you don’t have time to make a broth from the corn cobs, use store-bought broth or water. Instead of green beans, add whatever vegetables you have on hand, such as summer squash. If the number of soup ingredients is intimidating, try omitting some and see what happens; toppings are optional.

Corn broth
  • ears of corn, husked
  • olive oil
  • onion, chopped or green onion, sliced
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • jalapeño chile, chopped
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • ground cumin 
  • salt
  • dried or fresh oregano
  • pepper
  • tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • green beans, thinly sliced
  • diced tofu
  • garlic, minced
  • corn tortillas, coarsely chopped
  • finely chopped cilantro
  • corn tortillas
  • halved cherry tomatoes, roasted or raw
  • diced avocado
  • lime wedges
  • radish slices
  • carrot shreds
  • cabbage shreds
  • pitted green olives or olive tapenade
  • sliced jalapeño
  • sliced green onion
  • salsa fresca
  • hot sauce
  • pumpkin seeds
  • pesto
  1. Make broth: Slice corn kernels from ears of corn and set aside. Cut the corn cobs into pieces. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat and cook onion until soft. Add corn cobs, water to cover, Sriracha, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Pull out corn cobs and discard. Pour broth into a glass measuring bowl and set aside.
  2. Make soup: Heat more oil in the same pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add jalapeño, tamari, cumin, salt, oregano, and pepper and cook a minute longer.
  3. Stir in broth and tomatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are tender. Add Sriracha, corn kernels, green beans, diced tofu, garlic, and tortillas. Simmer until the tortillas fall apart. Stir in the cilantro. 
  4. Meanwhile, prepare toppings: Toast tortillas until crisp and break into pieces. Put toppings into serving bowls and set aside.
  5. Adjust seasonings and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into soup bowls and serve with toppings.



2 thoughts on “Summer soup from south of the border

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