Dana Slatkin

Dana’s 4-Pepper Tomato Tortilla Soup

Tortilla SoupSoup can be sublime. The best kind beckons with warmth and comfort, leading us deeper into the bowl with each bite, the last slurp as delicious as the first. Though it invariably requires a small investment in time, a good soup gratifies on so many levels. It is a most basic way to make life a little better, at least for the moment.

On a chilly Sunday evening, my brother and his new fiancée came over. I had an hour to come up with dinner. Digging through the vegetable bin, I found all the ingredients for a mire poix — carrots, celery, and onion — the building blocks of a good soup. But I was in the mood for something spicy and celebratory. After all, there was a wedding to plan and lots of festivities in store.

I started with a small amount of oil and sautéed the vegetables, adding three different peppers for a Spanish flair. There was some wilting cilantro in the fridge and a package of corn tortillas in the freezer, so I tossed them in, along with a can of organic tomatoes and a few heady aromatics. Left to simmer while we chatted at the kitchen table, the mixture began to bubble in the pot — rich, rose-colored, and wonderful. After 45 minutes, I blended it smooth and served it with a smorgasbord of garnishes…a one-pot dinner that everyone enjoyed.

It got me thinking about my brother’s decision to finally tie the knot. A good soup, like a strong marriage, is built from the bottom up. It is a complex concoction of sweet, salt, and spice. But given the right ingredients and plenty of time to brew, it’s something delicious to share on a cold winter night.

If soup’s on in your kitchen, too, try my White Bean Soup with Leeks and Potatoes.

There is still time to enter February’s Chocolate Contest! Your recipe could win you some fabulous gifts for your kitchen!

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