Cook this heart-warming meal during the cold weather season

January 16, 2013

Pumpkin Black Bean Tortilla Soup

Pumpkin Black Bean Tortilla Soup:
A hearty soup plus nutritious! Pumpkin adds extra flavor, fiber and Vitamin A. Black beans are very high in fiber, folate, protein and iron and don’t forget the tomatoes, which are loaded with Vitamin A and C. Enjoy making this soup by adding more or less of the ingredients. I do encourage you not to leave out the cumin. The cumin gives a subtle smoky flavor. 

12 (6 inch) corn tortillas 
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoons ground cumin
Chopped hot peppers (Jalapeno, Chili pequins, etc. or cayenne pepper to taste)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
2 cans of black beans (drained)
1 can diced fired roasted tomatoes, drained (or fresh seeded diced tomatoes)
6 cups low sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil or Canola for deep-frying 
*Cilantro chopped (about a cup or more extra for garnish)
*1 to 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed

Cut 6 of the tortillas into 1/4-inch-wide strips
Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, and chopped tortillas and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
Add cumin and chopped peppers or cayenne and sauté for another minute.
Add pumpkin, tomatoes, chicken/vegetable stock, and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for one hour.
While the soup is simmering, cut the remaining 6 tortillas in half and then into 1/4-inch-wide strips. And add chopped cilantro.   Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Fry tortilla strips in two batches until crisp and light golden (about a minute). Using a slotted spoon, transfer tortilla strips to towels to drain.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro.

*Just a few tips:
• If you're not sure how much to use, start with 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne, taste the soup after it has simmered for awhile, and then add more if desired.
• Add half the cilantro at the very last, then remove from heat.  It will keep its fresh flavor and color. Use the other half of the cilantro to garnish each bowl.
• Bake tortillas not Fried! Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, and spread on a baking sheet.
• Shredded chicken
• Don’t forget to squeeze lime juice on the finished soup!

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