The following recipe is a soup I will probably put on the rotation. It is a variation of tortilla soup. What happened is that I looked up a recipe for tortilla soup online, knowing that I had most of the ingredients on hand. Then I just threw something together when it was time to make dinner. This is usually how I cook on a daily basis.
If you have the chance, use dried beans to make your soup. This way you can soak them, and cook them to your liking. When you buy them in a can they are fully cooked (of course) and by the time they have simmered in your soup, they end up a little mushy.
picture courtesy cakegrrl iphone
1 red onion, sauteed
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 can black beans or 1 1/2 cups soaked black beans
1/2-1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans chicken broth
2 chicken breasts (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Cumin to your taste
Chlli powder to your taste
Red pepper flakes
Cayenne pepper (just a dash)
1-1/2 avocados (cut into small cubes)
Flour or corn tortillas
If you are going to use soaked beans, soak them for 6-8 hours before you want to use them. Use water or for a fun variation use some flat cerveza. Then drain the beans and rinse well.
Then you can prepare your tortillas. For this, you can buy corn tortilla chips, or premade strips, or you can buy corn or flour tortillas to cut into strips with a knife or kitchen shears.
To prepare the tortillas just cut them into strips and line them on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven. You will need enough to crush into crumbs, and also to finish on your soup for garnish. You can do this ahead of time, or while you are making the base for your soup.
Then to make the soup:
Sauté onion and garlic, add a bit of the chicken broth to deglaze, then add chicken and spices, cook chicken through and then set aside. In stockpot, add chicken broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, cilantro and chicken, onions and garlic. Simmer (do not boil, everything is fully cooked, so there is no need for such a high heat) for a bit, then add about a cup of crushed corn chips to thicken. The soup will thicken both by the added corn chip crumbs, and by simmering down the liquid. What you will be left with is a nice, flavorful, almost chicken and black bean stew. Stewpendous.
Top with your favorite cheese (pepper jack & monterey jack cheeses are what I used & colby jack would be quite lovely, too), toasted tortilla strips, & avocado.