This soup was interesting. Husband really liked it. I thought it was pretty good. This isn’t a soup you can whip up in 10 minutes. You really want to get some brown on the onions and tomatoes, and that takes a little time. I really liked the tortilla strips and avocado garnish…they add a lot to the soup, so don’t skip that step!
(Vegan Cooking for Carnivores, Roberto Martin)
2 medium white onions, chopped
4 large plum tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups broth made from Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base or Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ bunch cilantro (stems and leaves), chopped
½ bunch scallions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 corn tortillas, charred over an open flame and cut into strips
Seven corn tortillas cut into thin, 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch strips (see Note)
1 cup safflower or grapeseed oil for frying
2 firm avocados, halved, pitted, removed from their skins, and thinly sliced
1 cup grated vegan cheddar or Jack cheese
½ bunch cilantro, minced
In a large bowl, toss the onions and tomatoes with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Preheat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet until really hot. Place the onions onto the hot pan, and resist the urge to flip them a million times. Push some of the onions over and place the halved tomatoes on the hot pan as well.
Meanwhile, in a large soup pot or small stockpot, bring the broth to a low simmer and add the remaining ingredients. When the onions and tomatoes are charred, add them to the broth.
Ladle a cup or two of broth into the hot grill pan to deglaze the pan to pick up any charred bits of flavor left behind. Return this liquid to the pot, and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly while you prepare the garnish.
Make the fried tortilla strips: Heat the oil in a small pan until a test tortilla strip fries quickly. Working in batches, fry the strips until they are golden brown. Transfer them to paper towels to absorb excess oil and season lightly with salt.
When the garnish is complete, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Return the soup to the pot and reheat.
To serve, ladle an 8-ounce serving into each of six soup bowls and place a pinch of the vegan cheddar or Jack in the center of each. Arrange some tortilla strips over the cheese, and place a few thin slices of avocado over the strips. Sprinkle each soup with minced fresh cilantro and serve immediately.