Mexican Tomato Soup
This is a twist on fresh tomato soup. You can also make plain tomato soup by omitting the lime juice, adding fresh basil, and substituting croutons or crackers as the garnish.
1 medium onion
2-4 stalks celery, (also finely chopped celery leaves)
4 cups cut-up tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, mashed
½ c. lime juice
1 small hot pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1-3 c. vegetable or chicken stock
olive oil or butter
Garnishes: crème fraiche or sour cream, diced avocado, homemade tortilla chips*
In soup pot, sauté onion in butter or olive oil, adding celery, carrot, garlic, and hot pepper when onion is partially cooked. Cook together until onion is soft. Add tomatoes and 1 c. stock. Simmer until tomatoes are very soft. Add lime juice. Puree soup. (Or for a very velvety soup, put through a food mill to remove tomato seeds and skins.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more stock as desired to obtain thinner soup. Serve with garnishes.
*Homemade tortilla chips are easy to make and are a very tasty garnish for this soup. Choose store-bought wheat or corn tortillas. Heat olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, or lard in a deep wide skillet on medium high to a level of ½ inch or so. A skillet just larger than your tortillas is ideal. Once oil is hot, place tortilla in skillet. Cook for about 15 seconds, until it bubbles. Flip once and cook other side. Remove and set aside on a plate. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then cut into quarters. Use ½ to 1 tortilla per person.