I haven't made tortilla soup in awhile and thankfully because the weather has been on the cool side, I figured I'd make myself a bowl. If you don't like spice, you can skip adding the dried chiles, although ancho chiles aren't really spicy but more on the sweet side. I used Better than Boullion Vegetarian Chicken for my stock, if you also use that, no extra salt is needed. My favorite part about making this soup was baking the tortilla strips. It got me motivated to make my own tortilla chips next time or even pita chips. You can't beat the taste of homemade chips!
* 3 large dried New Mexico chiles (or pasilla or ancho chiles)
* 1 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled
* 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (optional)
* 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or to taste)
* 4 cups vegetable broth or no-chicken broth
* 4 cups water
* 1 1/2 cups pinto beans, cooked
* 1 1/2 cups black beans, cooked
* 1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
* salt to taste
* 6 corn tortillas
* 1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges
* 1 ripe large avocado, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
* 4 cups chopped spinach, chard, or kale leaves (packed)
When the chilies are cool enough to handle, stem and seed them, tear them into pieces, and put them in a blender along with tomatoes and their juice.
1. Toast the chiles. If you have a gas stove, you can hold them with tongs over the flame one at a time for a few seconds until fragrant. But if like me you use an electric stove, put them in a dry skillet over medium heat and press them flat for a few seconds on each side.
2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Spray lightly with olive oil (optional) and add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Pour it all into the blender along with the chipotle powder and process until smooth.
3. Return the pot to medium heat. When hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. (Careful–watch for hot, bubbling “eruptions”!) Add broth, water, oregano (if using), and drained pinto beans. Bring to a boil, then adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.
4. While the soup is cooking, prepare the tortillas. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut each tortilla in half (can be done in a stack if you have a sharp knife). Then cut each half into 1/4-inch wide strips. Place the strips in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool uncovered until soup is ready.
5. Add spinach (or chard or kale) to the soup and season with salt to taste, depending on the saltiness of the broth. Cook, stirring, until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes for spinach, longer for chard or kale.
6. Ladle the soup into 6 soup bowls. Divide avocado and tortilla chips among the bowls. Serve warm, with lime wedges.