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Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is perfect for rainy or cold weather.  Read more about the movie Tortilla Soup (2001), starring Hector Elizondo and Raquel Welch) here.

Tortilla Strips
5 corn tortillas, cut into 0.5 cm wide strips
30 ml olive oil
5 ml salt, or to taste

30 ml olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1 liter chicken broth
2 x 400 g tins chopped tomatoes and juice
1 x 400 g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
500 ml shredded cooked chicken
500 ml corn (I used frozen straight from the freezer, fresh may be substituted)
15 ml lime juice
1 to 5 ml chili powder
10 ml ground cumin
5 ml salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
5 ml smoked paprika (regular paprika may be substituted)
15 g fresh coriander leaves, stalks removed

To serve
diced avocado
grated cheese
sour cream

  1. To make the tortilla strips, preheat the oven to 190°C, line a tray with a Wizbake baking sheet.
  2. Scatter the tortilla strips loosely onto the baking sheet, evenly drizzle with olive oil, evenly sprinkle with kosher salt, toss with hands to coat evenly, and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until crisp and lightly golden brown; set aside. While strips bake, begin making the soup.
  3. To make the soup, add 30 ml olive oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm.
  4. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and juice, black beans, chicken, corn, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, 2 salt, pepper, smoked paprika, optional cayenne pepper, and bring to a boil.
  7. Allow mixture to boil gently for about 5 to 7 minutes. If at any point the overall liquid level looks low or you prefer your soup to have more broth, add 1 to 2 cups of water; you’ll adjust the salt and seasoning levels at the end.
  8. Add the coriander and season to taste. Make any necessary seasoning adjustments (i.e. more salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, etc.).
  9. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with tortilla strips to taste, optionally garnish with avocado, cheese and/or sour cream; serve immediately.

Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Extra tortilla strips will keep in airtight at room temp for up to 5 days.

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Gazpacho (Chilled Tomato Soup)

Though there are many versions of this soup, the traditional, tomato-based Spanish recipe is the one to go for.  It is an uncooked soup and is very similar to a smoothie – it is like salad made in a blender.

1 kg tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1 medium red sweet pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
½ medium cucumber, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
15 ml chives, snipped into 3 mm sections
80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 slice white bread, torn into bite-size pieces or 25 g almond flakes
5 ml crushed garlic
30 ml white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

½ cucumber, deseeded and diced and/or
1 medium green pepper, deseeded and diced and/or
celery, diced or cut into sticks (I buy the WW Carrot & Celery Fingers and use the carrots for something else)
parsley leaves
Creme Fraiche (optional)

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until you get the required consistency.
  2. Adjust the seasoning and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Serve in individual glasses (150 ml each) with a dollop of creme fraiche and the diced vegetables or just a parsley leaf and a celery stick to stir.  Alternatively, serve the soup in bowls with the garnishes on the side.

10 to 12 servings (depends on the size of the glasses you use).

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Greek Tomato Soup With Vermicelli Noodles

Serve as a light soup with vermicelli noodles only or turn into a more substantial meal by adding the meat to the soup as well. If preferred the meat may be used as a separate dish. Serve with crusty bread and butter.

± 500 g stewing lamb on the bone, e.g. neck or knuckles
1,5 litres water
2 bay leaves
15 g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 x 410 g tin peeled whole tomatoes, liquidised and strained
15 ml tomato paste
5 ml sugar
5 ml salt
5 ml beef stock powder
2 ml ground black pepper
pinch mixed dried herbs
1 litre water
100 g tiny soup or vermicelli noodles
50 ml spring onion, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Place the meat, water and bay leaves into a saucepan, bring to boil and simmer partly covered for at least one hour or until the meat is quite tender.
  2. Remove the meat from the saucepan, strain the stock and refrigerate or freeze the stock a while to solidify the fat for easy removal.  Make up the stock to 1,5 litres.
  3. In the meantime, using a second large saucepan, saute the onion gently in butter until pale golden.
  4. Add the strained tomato, tomato paste, seasoning and water and bring to boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add the noodles and simmer until tender.
  6. Add the strained defatted stock, meat, spring onion and seasoning to taste and simmer 10 minutes more. Serve piping hot.

6 – 8 servings.