Saturday, January 23, 2016

Quick Mexican Bean and Lentil Soup with Baked Tortilla Chips

Quick and easy, this zesty soup brings some Mexican heat to the table to help warm you inside and out. It's brimming with vegetables and tomatoes that flavour the broth, red lentils that help thicken it, and beans that add substance, and it relies mainly on pantry ingredients so can be made in no time at all.
I like to add a little fresh lime juice at the end to brighten the flavours and serve it with some baked tortilla chips but you could add all sorts of toppings: grated cheese, chopped avocado or guacamole, sour cream or Greek yogurt, etc
Quick Mexican Bean and Lentil Soup
serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ancho chile powder*
1 tsp chipotle chile powder*
1-796ml can whole plum tomatoes
900ml low-sodium vegetable stock
80ml red lentils, rinsed and picked over 
2-540ml cans beans (black, red kidney etc), drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 lime (optional)
2 tbsp chopped coriander or parsley (optional)

*You can substitute with your favorite chile powder.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion, stir to coat with oil and cook 8-10 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the oregano and chile powders. Stir and cook 1 minute. 

Add the tomatoes and break them up with a spoon or potato masher until the pieces are quite small. Stir in the stock and red lentils and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the drained, rinsed beans and simmer an additional 15 minutes. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste (and additional spices if necessary), and stir in the lime juice and chopped herbs if using. The soup keeps well in the fridge and freezer just make sure to store it in an airtight container.

Baked Tortilla Chips
serves 6 

10-18cm whole wheat flour tortillas
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin (other spices like smoked paprika, chile powder, cayenne pepper can be used also)
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Have 2 cookie sheets ready.

Using a pastry brush, brush 1 side of a tortilla very lightly with oil. Dust the oiled side with a pinch of cumin and a smaller pinch of sea salt, if using. Cut it into 6 wedges and place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer; it's okay if there's some overlap. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. To speed up this process, I usually stack 3-4 seasoned tortillas on top of each other and cut through all the layers to make the wedges. 

Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the chips are crisp. Cool and store in an air tight container; they'll stay crisp for 3-4 days.

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