24 June 2012

Spicy tortilla bisque with pico de gallo

The other day, Luis brought home a big bag of tortilla chips and asked me to make tortilla soup (sopa de tortilla). He loves my tortilla soup, which I adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit and have been making for years now. The spicy, tangy, coriander-infused broth and the wonderful texture of the corn tortilla strips make this the perfect soup (and far superior to other versions of tortilla soup that I've encountered, at least those here in Asia). It's very healthy too, making it the perfect dinner for the light eating kick that we're more or less on at present (freshly squeezed juices for breakfast, soups or salads for dinner every other day). Tonight, I got to thinking about the delicious success of my recent chana masala bisque (basically a dish of chana masala or Indian-spiced chickpeas pureed with some broth to make a hearty soup) and the thick version of tortilla soup that I had once enjoyed at California Pizza Kitchen in the States. Lo and behold, a new recipe was born... a pureed, thick and spicy tortilla bisque!

Let me tell you...this was orgasmically good! It reminded me a bit of the creamy, spicy corn soup that I made (and you loved!) last year but was even better with the heat from the adobo sauce, the thickness from the tortilla chips and the tang of the tomatoes and lime juice. For some additional freshness, I decided to make a quick pico de gallo to top the soup. Delicioso! You can bet that this will be in my regular rotation from now on and will make an appearance as a starter in a future Mexican or Southwestern-inspired meal. Try it and you'll see what I mean!

Serves 2-3

Nonstick cooking spray or 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (any color is fine), finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 tablespoons (more or less) minced chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (including sauce)
4 cups vegetable broth (or 4 cups water and one vegetable bouillon cube)
6 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander (including the stems)
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup broken tortilla chips (preferably unsalted or lightly salted)
1/4 cup whipping cream
Scant bit of sugar, to taste (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pico de gallo, for serving (recipe follows)
Crumbled tortilla chips, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon finely minced red onion, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped coriander, the juice of half a lime and salt to taste. Set aside.

1. Heat the cooking spray or oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Once warm, add the onions, bell pepper and garlic and saute until the onion is just beginning to brown.

2. Add the tomato paste, cumin powder and chipotles and give it a good mix.

3. Pour in the broth and stir in 4 tablespoons of the coriander. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat the low, cover and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes.

4. Add the corn kernels, tomato and tortilla chips and cook for about 5 minutes or until the tortilla chips are nice and soggy and beginning to disintegrate. Then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander

5. Puree the soup using an immersion blender (my favorite kitchen gadget at present!) or a regular blender.

6. Mix in the whipping cream and season with sugar to taste (if using) and lime juice.

7. Serve garnished with a spoon of the pico de gallo, crumbled tortilla chips and a wedge of lime.


  1. Delicious soup! I guess corn tortillas are not available there. Those will be better and healthier than the fried tortilla chips, don't you think?-Mom

    1. They are available (actually much better ones than what we used to get in France), but we just happened to only have tortilla chips). But yes, tortillas would be a healthier option

  2. What a lovely soup you have there. I bookmarked it to make it soon. I like the thick texture for a tortilla soup. I am into chipotle chilis and think it would be a perfect touch! Yummy for sure!

  3. Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

  4. This sounds so delicious. I've never made a tortilla soup before but I'm also going to bookmark this one to try.

  5. This soup looks and sounds delicious:) I can't wait to try it. Thanks for a great post and congratulations on Foodbuzz Top 9:)

  6. This looks good... really really good! I am eager to try it!

  7. You know, I've actually never had tortilla soup before. Definitely on my 'to try' list. Congrats on the Top 9!

  8. Congratulations on your foodbuzz top 9, today!

  9. Congrats of Top 9 today. I love mexican flavours and tortilla soup is one of my favs... I think your flavour profile is pretty right on but you could use some diced jalapeno in your Pico de gallo and then it would be perfect. Maybe they are not available where you are?

  10. This does sounds like a wonderful tortilla soup! Such great comfort food! Congrats on the Top 9!

  11. This looks fabulous! Love that you used the tortilla chips as a thickener for the soup. Congrats on top 9!

  12. This looks fabulous! Love that you used the tortilla chips as a thickener for the soup. Congrats on top 9!