What she made me was a revelation: tortilla soup !! I may be the last person to discover this great meal. I had heard of it before but pictured some anemic broth with bit of tortilla floating in it, nothing could be further from the truth.
Her version was from The Yogic Kitchen: http://theyogickitchen.blogspot.com/2011/04/tortilla-soup.html
I modified it, of course, and was very pleased with the result. The refried beans gave it a thicker texture and the additional spices gave it more complexity.
This soup will really come into its own in the late summer when corn, tomatoes and peppers are fresh in our farmers markets.
As with most soup there is a lot a room for adaptation, it can be vegetarian, vegan or meaty and don't be afraid to make your own substitutions.
Laurie's version of Tortilla Soup
1 large red onion, chopped
2 frozen roasted bell pepper, chopped, use fresh when available.
1 bag frozen corn, rinsed and drained
1 cup refried beans(optional)
1 cup finely chopped red cabbage (optional but highly recommended)
1 can black beans, drained or use kidney or pinto beans
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 pint canned tomatoes
1 quart veggie or chicken or beef broth
1 tbsp chili powder ( I was out so I used fajita seasoning)
1 tsp. ancho chili (optional)*
1/4 red chili flakes, more if you like it hotter
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika ( optional)*
2 tbsp cumin
sprig of fresh oregano or 1 tsp. of dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
* If you leave these out add more chili powder.
Saute the corn until dark around the edges, this will take longer than you might imagine since you start with the corn frozen. To speed this up you could use the fire roasted frozen corn from Trader Joe's.
Add in the onion, garlic, cabbage and bell pepper, cook until soft.
Add in the spices and saute another minute or so, to release the full flavor of the spices. Combine the rest of the ingredients and cook until bubbling.
Serve over fresh corn tortillas cut into strips ( I found that heating them up first is great).
Top with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, a slice of lime, chopped avocado, cilantro and hot sauce or salsa, or whatever strikes your fancy.
This soup make a very hearty meal, it will become a mainstay at our house.