Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Husband's Recipes: Snow Day Tortilla Soup

This is what I call "making soup out of nothing at all" (and, yes, I just made an Air Supply reference. Shoot me). Originally it was my own invention, not the Blond's, based on a very non-vegetarian recipe I saw somewhere. I simply liked the idea of a soup with grated cheese on top. Lots and lots of cheese. We each prepare it a little differently, but the basics are the same: sort of Mexican-inspired, lots of spices, and have I mentioned cheese?

This is the husband's version in his words (including some musings on cumin):

Snow days are a new and novel concept for me. Growing up in the equivalent of Death Valley weather does not prepare you to 20 inches of snow and roads that are near impassable for a while. We had a few of those recently, and while the white powder is accumulating outside there is nothing better than a thick spicy soup that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes without going to the store.
I’m not a big cumin fan in general and usually have a huge problem with it in perfume. On my skin it always becomes very pungent and too close to BO for comfort. I still remember the first time I tried Serge Noire. The cumin note was so horrible; I had to scrub it off my hand immediately. I now ask the wife to test every new Serge and let me know if it’s safe before even trying on skin.
I do love cumin in this soup as it adds an irreplaceable aroma and taste.

Ingredients (4 small servings or 2-3 larger ones):
1 can tomatoes (diced, whole or crushed, it doesn't really matter)
1 can beans (pinto or kidney.  Really, any type will work fine), rinsed and drained
1 cup corn kernels (from can or defrosted)
1 table spoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cup water
½ cup white wine
tortilla chips
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
spices (about ½ tea spoon of each) cumin seeds, celery seeds, fennel or anise seeds,
herbs: thyme, marjoram.
salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste.

1. Put 1/2 can of beans and ½ a cup of the corn kernels into the food processor and chop for a few seconds, add the tomatoes with their preservation liquids and process for another 10 seconds or so, depending on what type of tomatoes you use. It should retain some texture but not be too chunky.
2. Grind the seeds  with the rest of the spices. (Gaia roasts the seeds in a pan and then grinds them in a spice grinder. I just grind them in a mortar without roasting. We each maintain our method is much better.)
3. Put a little olive oil in the bottom of a soup pan and heat (medium flame), add the spice mix + chili flakes for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the pureed tomatoes, corn and bean mixture, water and wine with the rest of the whole beans and corn and mix well.
4. After it boils, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so.
5. Pour into soup bowls and add grated cheese and crushed tortilla chips (we add a lot of each, making it a very thick and rich soup.)


Kosh demands his share of corn. That's what passes as a treat in a vegetarian household:

All photos were taken by the husband.


  1. LOL! I had a cat named Keats growing up who looked just like Kosh there. He used to wait until we were done eating, pass by all the meats on the table, and start munching on the peas, green beans, asparagus, lima beans... you name it. If it was green, he'd eat it. Don't think he ever really tried corn, though.

  2. That looks yummy! Will have to try the recipe soon, it's been quite chilly here.
    Love the kitty cat!

  3. You could save some cleanup by starting at step 2, doing step 3, adding in step 1 and pureeing with an immersion blender.

    I love this gadget. Instant puree of anything and so easy to clean..

  4. Great idea, these recipes - and maintaining the blog's high standards of literary communication! USA recipes are so refreshingly direct, and I love the cup measurement system. This one looks very good.

    We call immersion blenders 'stick blenders' in the UK - at least, I do. One has revolutionised my culinary life, and given me an undeserved reputation as a short order soup cook.

    All strength to both of you, blond and non blonde - this blog lights up life on daily basis.

  5. Another great sounding recipe. Thank you, Mr. Blond.

    Kosh is a very, very handsome fellow.

    Rosa, my current cat is a fan of broccoli, but only with cheese on it.
    (Easiest way- cook broccoli as usual, and then sprinkle on finely shredded cheese---if grated finely enough, it melts nearly instantly.)

    Lawrence in Ohio

  6. I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. I often have some leftover corn tortillas and will try using them, since most tortilla chips are very salty. I make my own tortillas--it's very easy, actually, once you get the consistency of the dough just right.

  7. I think I will make this tonight - yummy! thanks for the recipe. :o)

  8. Hi Tom, the immersion blender does sound like a good idea. I like the way the food processor allows you to get a uniform texture that is not totally puree but probably need to give the IB another chance.

    Laurence, we have no takers for broccoli but peas are popular and olives will drive a a few of them nuts. The broccoli + cheese fondue is a staple. With another snow day coming this Wednesday I think it may be cheese fondue day.

    Queen Cupcake, we hate the salty chips too so we buy the unsalted type.

  9. I am coming over for dinner. In fact, I just popped some Claritin and I'm going to start walking to you right now!

    This is amazing, props to the Blonde!


  10. Thank you for the recipe! I have not yet tried any yet, but I love that you post yours!

  11. I made this tonight, and it was delicious! My 7 year old son, who normally turns up his nose at anything new, gave me the thumbs-up twice. Thanks again for the recipe.

  12. Thanks for this recipe!

    I make a tortilla soup for my fiancee that often borders on heavy (the curry and hot sauce don't help, I'm sure) I don't actually follow a recipe as none have seemed that flavorful but this is going to get copied down and I will actually follow this. We have an ice skating date tomorrow evening and this will be perfect. Thank you for sharing, and I'm sure my fiancee thanks you in advance!

  13. I read your blog every weekend and look forward to it Saturday morning. A recipe is a treat I wasn't expected and ran into the kitchen to make it. Delicious. Can we get more Mr. Blond recipes?


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