By now it won’t surprise you I think sausage is a cooking secret weapon. I love that one ingredient can have so much power, unleashing its robust flavor on whatever it comes in contact with. In this case it’s soup and with Spanish style chorizo.
I used to think making soup always meant a long chunk of time spent in the kitchen. And well, many do. This will require only about 45 minutes of your time. It’s inspiration came from a recipe a friend shared with me – her source she couldn’t remember. My family has eaten huge quantities of it over the years. Richly flavored and spicy best describe Spanish style smoked chorizo sausage. If you’re not familiar, in general there are two types of chorizo, Spanish and Mexican. Spanish chorizo is cured and/or smoked and gets its smoky flavor from smoked paprika or smoked dried red chiles. Whereas Mexican chorizo is made with raw pork, red chiles and seasonings and needs to be cooked before eaten.
For a weeknight dinner, I keep it simple and sprinkle the soup with chopped fresh cilantro and crispy fried tortilla strips. If you don’t want to be bothered frying tortillas you can also break up your favorite store bought tortilla chips or cut corn tortillas into strips and add them fresh.
Don’t limit this sumptuous soup to the week – serve it for a casual weekend dinner party. Begin with margaritas to sip and maybe prawns and chips and guacamole for an appetizer. Then ladle the soup into bowls and give your guests the choices of chopped avocado, cilantro, grated cheese, sour cream, lime wedges and fried tortilla strips to pile on their bowl of soup. Dulce de leche ice cream makes for an easy, fitting finish.
- 12 oz Spanish style smoked chorizo sausage, sliced into rounds or half moons (see note)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 medium cloves)
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth or stock
- 28 oz carton or canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups peeled chopped russet potato (1 large) see note
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 15 oz canned black, kidney or pinto beans, drained
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 2 corn tortillas (see note)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- In a stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat then add onions and cook and stir until softened and lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute.
- Push onions and garlic to one side and add remaining tablespoon oil; add sausage and cook and stir until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, tomatoes, potatoes and salt; bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add beans and simmer until broth is slightly thickened and potatoes are soft when poked with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes.
- While soup is simmering, cut tortillas into 4 pieces then cut each piece into ½ inch wide strips. Heat vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. In batches, fry tortilla strips just until golden brown and crisp, about 1 minute; transfer to a paper to a paper towel to drain and sprinkle with salt.
- Season soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and top with cilantro and tortilla strips.
I recommend using russet potatoes instead of red or white skin potatoes because they have more starch and will contribute to thickening the broth of the soup. But red or white skin potatoes can be used.
Alternatives to cutting and frying corn tortillas: lightly crushing high quality store bought tortilla chips or cutting the corn tortillas into strips and adding them fresh.