Mesa Verde National Park, CO
After a long day of driving, we arrived in Mesa Verde National Park. We found a campsite right away. Apparently the season is already over here, so the only available spot in the park was a primitive campsite. We unhitched the pioneer, and explored the park with what little daylight we had left.
About 1,400 years ago, the park was home to the Anasazi people, ancestral Puebloans. Today it preserves the elaborate stone communities they built in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Their structures stood up to all the elements of nature and are in excellent condition to this day. A strange and interesting place.
|Cliff Dwellings in Mesa Verde|
Back at camp, the sun went down and temps dropped drastically into the 20's. I got to work on this hearty soup, inspired by southwestern flavors, and packed with fresh ingredients.
|Southwestern Tortilla Soup|
Southwestern Tortilla Soup
Vegan, Gluten Free
½ a yellow onion, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 chile pepper (mild or hot), diced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup fresh spinach, chopped
½ cup fresh kale, chopped
3 corn tortilla shells, cut into strips
15 oz can of black beans (with liquid)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
¼ tsp ground chipotle powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp liquid smoke
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
4 ½ cups vegetable broth
salt- to taste
In a medium sized pot, medium heat, heat ½ cup of the broth, potatoes, onion, garlic, chile pepper, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, liquid smoke, cumin, and oregano. Cover pot, simmering about 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the broth, and cook 10 min, covered.
Reduce heat med-low. Add tomato, beans with bean liquid, nutritional yeast, & kale. About 10 more minutes, covered.
While that is cooking, heat oil in a pan, med-low heat. Add tortilla strips and a pinch of salt. Fry strips until golden brown and crispy. Remove from heat.
Remove soup from heat, and stir in spinach and cilantro.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips. Serve immediately.