Since the winter storm warnings keep coming, I think it’s time for another soup. I know some very picky eaters who claim not to like tomatoes but devour this Tortilla Soup. I promise to take a nice long break from soups when the weather warms up. But until then, here’s another favorite…
2 tablespoons butter or Smart Balance
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 quart chicken stock
2 cans Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce (I prefer mild)
2 cans black beans, drained
1 tube frozen white cream style corn
1 16-ounce bag frozen white shoe peg corn, loose pack
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
diced Monterey Jack Cheese (or cheddar if you prefer)
Tostitos or Fritos
I’m the worst about jumping into a recipe head first without reading it all the way through and preparing things before starting. This causes some hectic moments where things cook longer than intended while I furiously chop or wash or pull my food processor out of its hiding place. So here are some things you might find helpful to prepare first…
Up to a day ahead: Move the tube of cream style corn to the refrigerator. It will be much more cooperative (read: quick to break up in the soup) if it’s defrosted a little before you start cooking.
When you’re ready to start: Put on an apron or something you don’t care about getting splattered. There are lots of splatter opportunities as you pour these ingredients into the soup. Open all of the cans (tomatoes and beans), and drain the black beans. I’m not a perfectionist about getting ALL of the liquid out of the black bean cans. Also, this day I could only find a family size (24-ounce) pack of white shoepeg corn, so I did not use the entire bag.
Whirl the tomatoes in the food processor until there are no chunks bigger than you would like to encounter in your soup. I like to get rid of all of the chunks.
Mince the garlic. If you get frustrated trying to separate the cloves of a garlic bud, try this trick: place the garlic bud on the counter and put the side of a big chopping knife on top of it (blade of knife is parallel with the counter). Hit the knife with the heel of your hand, and voila!, the bud will shatter into several cloves.
Saute garlic in butter and add cumin, stirring until cumin is spread throughout and heated through.
Add chicken stock, tomatoes, and Picante Sauce. Bring to a boil and add tube of frozen corn.
If the cream style corn is coming straight from the freezer, it will take awhile to get the corn fully defrosted and blended through the soup. Once it’s blended, add the loose corn and black beans. Continue to heat on the stovetop for a little while to heat the corn and beans and to let the flavors blend.
Five minutes before serving, add the chopped cilantro. You may not want to use an entire half cup of cilantro, so go easy and taste before you add all of it. Also, when I’m giving this soup away, I just leave the cilantro out and deliver the soup with a bunch of fresh cilantro to be added to the taste of the recipient when it’s reheated .
Into soup bowls, drop tiny diced Monterey Jack cheese. Ladle hot soup over cheese and serve with Tostitos or Fritos to crumble on top. The diced cheese makes melty cheesy puddles in the bottom of the bowl – delicious! Sour cream makes a nice garnish too.
The Story: When my parents are dieting, this soup makes regular appearances at dinnertime. They use Smart Balance, skip the sour cream, and limit the Monterey Jack and Tostitos. When my dad was on his major diet a few years ago, he lost 40 pounds, so that’s a pretty good recommendation to me!