Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quick & Easy Blender Tortilla Soup & the Year in Soup--My Dozen Favorites from Year Two of Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I had leftover chicken and corn tortillas to use up and I was in the mood for tortilla soup this week, but kept getting busy and didn't get around to making it. Cut to Saturday evening, after spending half the day in an Indian cooking class, making spicy curries, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and spend time cooking a big pot of soup. That is where the high-powered blender comes in--with a high powered blender (mine is a VitaMix), you can have a flavorful, thick, healthy Quick & Easy Blender Tortilla Soup on the table in about 15 minutes. Just crisp up some corn tortillas in a little oil on the stove, the rest cooks in the blender in about 5 minutes. Stir in some leftover cooked chicken and top with your favorite garnishes and you are ready to eat.

Quick & Easy Blender Tortilla Soup
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen

(Makes two servings--about 4 cups)

canola oil
4 corn tortillas (stale are fine, cut into strips)
1 box of Pomi diced tomatoes, with juice (or 1 can chopped tomatoes with juice)
1 cup chicken stock
2 garlic cloves
1/2 sweet onion, chopped coarsely
2 dried chilies, preferably pasilla, stemmed, seeded and sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped

Put the oil (so it covers the bottom) in a medium pan over medium-high heat; a couple of minutes later, when the oil is hot, begin to fry the tortilla strips in batches until golden brown and crisp, turning after a minute or two, for a total of 2 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Place the tomatoes and their juice, chicken stock, garlic, onion, chilies, cumin and about 2/3 of the tortilla strips into the VitaMix blender. Blend on high until the steam starts coming from the top. Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste and stir in the chicken. Pour into heated bowls and serve, garnished with cilantro, avocado, and remaining tortilla strips.

Notes/Results: Simple, fast and full of great flavor. It is amazing how quickly the blender makes a satisfying, tasty soup. I invested in my VitaMix about five years ago and I use it almost every day. Because it blends everything so well, just roughly chop the onion, and then pile it and the other ingredients into the blender. After the corn tortillas are cooked and all the ingredients are whirring away and heating, you can shred your chicken and chop up your garnishes. Easy, peasy. I will make this again.

I am sending this soup to girlichef's Tortilla Soup Challenge--her monthly round up of all the yummy versions of her favorite soup. My Quick & Easy Blender Tortilla Soup may not be the most authentic--but for quick and delicious it can't be beat!

The Year in Soup:
My Dozen Favorite Soups From Year 2 of
Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sunday

I started Souper Sundays two years ago because of my love for a bowl of good soup and in order to work my way through all the soup recipes I was collecting and creating. I started inviting others to submit their soups to a weekly round up and added salads and sandwiches for those not craving just soup in the warmer months about 6 months later. In honor of Souper Sundays Year 2, I chose an even dozen of my favorite soups that I have made over the past year. With a soup a week and so many good ones to choose from, it was hard to pick just twelve, but I picked the soups that I loved the most, wanted more of, or really thought about and craved afterward. These are in no particular order---they are just a dozen really great soups.

A favorite soup from a favorite cookbook, this Chickpea Soup with Saffron and Almonds from "Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: is a quick to make soup that is the perfect combination of flavors and textures. The chorizo Bittman suggests adding is essential, and this recipe a keeper.

All of my favorite flavors are combined in this Chilled Lemongrass and Coriander Vichyssoise by British chef Delia Smith. This is a rich soup and a cup or a small bowl of it, served icy cold, is perfect on a warm day.

Yes, it was just last week, but I am already craving another round of Giada's Pasta e Fagioli. Pasta, beans, and of course bacon, are all in this take on an Italian classic soup. What's not to love?! Hearty and really yummy. ;-)

This Curry Soup from "Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook" may be a healthy choice, but it was packed with flavor and noodley goodness. It is a take on an Indonesian soup and uses Javanese curry and lemon for its flavor. Very filling and very good.

A sausage-potato soup was living in my head and found its form in this Hearty Chicken Sausage, Garbanzo Bean, Artichoke & Kale Soup. With chicken sausage and pureed beans instead of cream to make it thick, this is a healthy bowl of soup that packs in lots of flavor. One of my favorite original recipes of the year.

There is no way I could leave Sunset Magazine's Creamy Lemon-Rice Soup with Mini Meatballs of my year's best list. I mean mini meatballs...come on!?! This combination of a Greek avgolemono (chicken and rice soup with lemon and beaten eggs) base with the savory tiny meatballs really is the perfect comfort food.

Mark Bittman's Tortilla Soup--actually he has many versions but this one is from The Best Recipes in the World. This version is full of flavor, wonderful texture and is really delicious. In fact, I modeled my quick tortilla soup on some of the the flavors in Bittman's.

I made a lot of cold, green soups with avocado in them this summer, but I think this Smooth Zucchini Soup was my favorite. A healthy, raw, vegan soup with a good thick texture and lots of flavor, it was perfect with some Tomato-Avocado-Herb Bruschetta.

My VitaMix 10 Minute Thai Creamy Tomato Soup, is an original recipe I whipped up in the blender. The kaffir lime, lemongrass and other Thai ingredients gave this soup a ton of flavor and the coconut milk added a wonderful creaminess.

If I get a cold this season, I am definitely pulling out the recipe for the Elephants' "Cure" Chicken Soup from Elephants Delicatessen in Portland, Oregon. Slightly spicy (from serrano chilies) with layers of flavor, this version of chicken soup will knock the sick right out of you.

I'll say it loud and proud: I love split pea soup! This Smoky & Chunky Split Pea Soup is an original recipe that I put together leaving lots of big chunks of potato, carrot and smoky ham hocks. Super flavorful from the broth made from ham shanks, this was a big bowl full of comfort.

Because it was so tasty and so unique, I had to include this Passion Fruit (& Cantaloupe Soup) in the round-up. Pureed melon and passion fruit, along with fruit juice and white wine made an easy, refreshing and elegant dessert soup.

So those are this year's top soups--at least the ones that I made, as it would be way too hard to pick favorites from all the wonderful soups and salads and sandwiches too that all the friends of Souper Sundays have made and submitted over the past 12 months.

I am looking forward to another year full of delicious bowls of soupy goodness, tasty salads and sumptuous sandwiches--including the ones in the Souper Sunday kitchen this week.

Let's start things off with a warm welcome to Daphne from More Than Words, here for her first Souper Sunday and joining us from Perth, Australia. Spring has sprung in Perth and Daphne made this lovely Spring Bacon and Vege Soup and says, "Spring doesn't mean less soups! Well, almost. I couldn't resist this one though. It has heaps of vegetables in it which I love! Peas, bacon, carrots and potatoes-what not to like? ;) It's such a quick soup to whip up. Perfect for our friday night meals. This was made in under 20 minutes, and a great way to use up vegetables left over in the fridge."

My good friend Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice brought her Loaded Baked Potato Soup this week and says, "If you love loaded baked potatoes and soup, like I do, then this is the perfect recipe for you! This thick and creamy potato soup is speckled with fragrant herbs like rosemary, thyme and parsley and topped with all of the somewhat-indulgent things found on a baked potato. It's hearty, warm and filling. Not to mention completely satisfying. Especially on a crisp, cool night or when you're feeling under the weather."

Erin from EKat's Kitchen made some sunshiny bowls of soup and says, "Today, we journeyed 6 blocks to the farmer's market. Lots of great fall fruits and veggies. Squash was $1/each!! The farmer told us all about the squash, its origins and its flavor, and we can't wait to make some pies with it! He also gave us a fantastic recipe for Butternut Squash Soup, which I have completely and utterly fallen in love with. The flavors are amazing and there's just enough kick from the cayenne pepper to liven it up."

Rachel from Rachel's Bite is back this week with a fiery bowl of her stepfather's prize-winning Dante's Inferno Chili. She says, "Like myself, my step-father never really make the same thing twice, so we didn't keep eating that chili over and over. It was pretty much just a one time great food related memory. I did dig out the recipe though and made it for myself. My whole family sampled it again and the general consensus was that it needed salt! How the heck did this win and get published in a newspaper and all that without any salt in it? Oh well, if you make it, I suggest added some of your own. Because if you add some cheese, onions and a little salt, it's really yummy!"

Zibi of Fresh Slowcooking used the ample selection of delicious fall squash for her golden-hued Smokey Butternut Squash Soup and says, "A rich, comforting soup packed with flavour. The addition of smoked cheddar and crispy smoked bacon, make this butternut squash soup hearty and creamy. Perfect for warming up after a stroll in the crisp autumn air. Enjoy!"

Our second new face at Souper Sundays this week is Gwen from Simply Healthy Family, joining us from Arizona and sharing her creamy Cauliflower-Yam Bisque. Gwen says, "Yesterday, it was ever so slightly cloudy out and so I jumped at the chance to make this Cauliflower-Yam bisque for lunch. The kids actually love this dish and so it makes it a bit more enjoyable to make. It's so super easy too, that's the name of the game here at Simply Healthy Family." Welcome Gwen!

Megha from Live to eat!!! made a flavorful Asian Salad with Sesame & Peanut and says, "I came across the event 'In the Bag' which gives you ingredients to innovate a whole new recipe.For this month's event mushroom,herbs and nuts were the suggested ingredients. I liked the entire concept and I quickly started gathering the ingredients...... Asian noodle salad can be made with various ingredients and they can be a healthy dinner after a long day's work. I hope you like my version of the Asian Noodle Salad with Sesame & Peanut."

Tanvi from Sinfully Spicy has a colorful Fish Salad with an Indian Twist to share this week and says, "Its one of the most satisfying and healthy salads I have made at home till date.It evolved as I was making it.Flaky fish marinated in Indian spices coated with homemade garlic-cilantro bread crumbs, pan cooked and combined with sweet green lettuce and a drizzle of lemony dressing…Viola….seafood can’t get better than this!!! I cant have my fish without ginger so I have used it freely.However mellow it down as per your taste.Very nice brunch option indeed!"

My pal Joanne from Eats Well With Others combines Michael Symon with Nigella and makes a salad a complete meal with Crab Tater Tots on a Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. She says, "The crab tater tots actually tasted like. Well. Tater tots. And who doesn't love tater tots? And though it seems like an unlikely combination, they went beautifully with the butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette, which is a symphony of fall flavors if ever I've had one. I highly recommend that you make this today."

The lovely Michelle from Ms. Enplace is back this week with some Saturday Sandwiches, made with love by her husband. Michelle says, "Probably the best lunch The Husband makes are these "gourmet chicken sandwiches on focaccia." I think the title is pretentious and cumbersome, so I just think of them as Saturday Sandwiches.The Husband found the recipe online while searching for something (anything!) different for lunch. He's modified it and we like to make our own focaccia. I usually do that part the night before and he does the rest. And I get to come home for lunch to find a delicious, filling, homemade sandwich sitting on my plate. Sometimes that's the best thing about Saturdays."

My friend and fellow Cook the Books co-host, Rachel, The Crispy Cook is here with some tasty Eggplant and Zucchini Panini, declaring "Who needs bread in a sandwich anyway?" Rachel also says, "There's no bread in these sandwiches, but rather some thick slices of fried eggplant make up the outside with a oozing mozzarella middle inside. With a few adaptations to make the recipe gluten-free, this turned out to be a terrific hit with my handsome, hungry husband."

Blogging buddy and IHCC partner in crime Heather at girlichef made some homemade Bavarian-Style Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread for World Bread Day and turned it into a delectable sandwich. About her bread, Heather says, "Perhaps you'll even slice it, butter it, grill it...add a little swiss and make it all melty, some hot corned beef, smelly-delicious sauerkraut, and that oddly-fascinating Thousand Island dressing...and make yourself a Reuben. The world is your oyster..."

My good friend and IHCC co-host Kim from Stirring the Pot makes sandwiches fun and festive with her Trick or Treat Turnovers. Kim says, "These turnovers are probably our favorite Halloween-inspired recipe so far. Everyone really had a great time and enjoyed customizing their own pumpkin. I'm thinking of making these for our neighborhood Halloween party and creating a build your own station for the kids."

So there we go--a celebration of two years of soups and the salads and sandwiches that go along with them! ;-) Thanks to all of my best blogging friends and some wonderful new friends too, for joining in this week with their yummy soup, salad and sandwich recipes. I am honored and very happy to have you here celebrating with me this week! Thanks also to everyone who has contributed to making Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays so much fun the past two years by sending in your dishes and/or stopping by with a positive comment -- you make the event worthwhile!

If you have a soup, salad or sandwich you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sunday logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a great week!


  1. Ooooo..what a roundup Deb! Love the tortilla soup.looks colorful & healthy.This post is sort of a mini bible on best soups :)

  2. I love tortilla soup!! I think yours looks spectacular and I will have to make it soon! Great round up, Deb. I also plan to make your zucchini soup this week as it looks delish and I have a bunch of zucchini to love!

  3. great list of your top soups and congrats on 2 years! hope to contribute this year too :)

  4. 2 Years!! That is so awesome (did I say 200 posts in my email...ugh...ignore me). I don't think I could have chosen, everything looks so amazing! I'm totally psyched that you chose tortilla soup this week, too!! Love having another one to add to the quest, Deb! Congrats on 2 years of SS...looking forward to many more :D

  5. You are a girl after my own heart!! I love soup too. I really enjoy your blog. Can't wait to try some of your soup recipes.

  6. A very happy TWO years to you! Even though I only participate sporadically, I do read and look forward to Souper Sundays each week. Had a great time reading about your top soups of the year.

    Thanks for hosting!

  7. wow what a wonderful selection of dishes.All look really tasty nad delicious.

  8. Man I canNOT believe it has been two years! Craziness.

    I love your top 12 list. It's so awesome how there's so much variety packed into it...such a testament to how versatile soup can be.

    Excellent round up! Here's to another MANY years!

  9. Congratulations on two years of Souper Sundays! Love that curry soup.

  10. awww. Happy 2 year birthday to souper soup! and i am sure there will be more to come! can't wait to join in more fun =)

  11. Deb - Hooray for Souper Sundays! I love the blender tortilla soup and noticed that you used Pomi Tomatoes(they are my favorite). I also loved reading over your top 12 soups. I'm going to have to try Bittman's chickpea with saffron and almonds. I'm sure that I would love it. This was a fabulous roundup that was a joy to read. Thanks for including me.

    P.S. I love split pea soup too!

  12. Ooohhh!! I think I want a Vitamix!! I seem them at Costco all the time, but just didn't want to spend the $$. We got the cheapo Magic Bullet instead, and, well... it makes OK smoothies, but that's about it.
    Love the Tortilla soup, it's one of our favorites. As for your list, I'm picking Giada's pasta e fagoli as well and I like the Lemon soup. You have revitalized my soup making, I'm not much of a soup fan, but my husband loves it. He thanks you!
    BTW, just finished the Captain Cooked book and I really enjoyed it. Thanks again! Now I need to try a recipe or two...!

  13. Tanvi--thank you! And thanks for joining in SS so often too. I am still thinking about your fish salad.

    Erin--Thanks Erin! I hope you like the zucchini soup--it is different but really tasty. ;-)

    Kat--mahalo! Hope to have you pop in whenever you can. ;-)

    girlichef--thanks! I like to contribute to your challenge. ;-)

    Ashley--thanks for stopping by--always happy to meet a fellow soup lover. ;-) I hope you join in with a soup sometime.

    Michelle--thank you! You are always welcome--I love it when you do join in. ;-)

    Simplyfood--thank you!

    Joanne--thanks! And thanks for always supporting SS--with delicious recipes and positive feedback! ;-)

    Rachel--thanks! And it uses rice noodles too. ;-) Thanks for joining in this week!

    Daphne--Thank you! It was so great to have you join in this week. Hope you come back soon! ;-)

    Kim--Mahalo! Pomi are the best--they taste so fresh!I bet you would love the Bittman soup too. ;-)

    Kim--Liv Life--The VitaMix has been worth the investment for me--I love it. Glad you enjoyed the book, and I am happy your husband is enjoying the soups--we will convert you yet!

  14. I love your blender tortilla soup! The last one I made was quite involved - I would love to try this one. I'm so glad you touched on some of your favorite soups - I was reminded of the lemony meatball soup that I really want to make. Another delicious round-up from you. Thanks for including me and have another great year!

  15. Wow, so many soups! Thanks for the roundup :)

  16. Wow, happy 2 years! I love the variety you have presented - you are the master of soup flavour and colour combos!

  17. A double whammy - what a great collection of favourite recipes and a lovely round-up for this week's picks. :)

  18. wow, two years and hundreds of delicious soups, salads and sandwich... thank you all!

  19. Reeni--thank you! This was a quick and simple soup but with great flavor. Thanks for joining in SS so often--it is always a pleasure to have you. ;-)

    Rachel--thank you! And thanks for joining in.


    Janet--thank you! Look forward to having you back again. ;-)

    Graziana--thank you for being a frequent contributer too! ;-)

  20. Happy 2 years!! It's so great having your favourite soups all in one post :) It's autumn where I am and I love relaxing with a nice hot bowl of soup these days.


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