I planned on following Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s building a soup guidelines, but I realized that the direction I would have taken it would have resulted in another fine meal. And I think that’s the problem I’ve been having. When I haven’t used a recipe, dinner has turned out fine. And that’s why I go back to scouring my Food to Try Pinterest board or my tagged items that I’ve transferred over to my Feedly account (PS. I don’t even miss Google Reader at all). Because there’s promise in those unmade recipes. What if they’re better than fine? What if they contain the untapped technique or combination of ingredients that I hadn’t thought of and result in a keeper?
So I put the splendid How to Eat Supper cookbook away, and I relied on the ingredients on hand and an idea. I still had smoked pork to incorporate, so my soup was built around that. I wanted a southwestern vibe and was willing to run to the local grocery store for frozen corn and a can of black beans. Then I decided I didn’t just want southwestern. I wanted deep flavor. Chili-esque. A chili-esque tortilla soup. And then I knew. It’s all about the accroutremonts. I built a decent base. Onion, garlic, carrot, celery, red bell pepper, a roasted jalapeno. Chili powder, cumin, salt. Tomato paste. Last summer’s canned tomatoes, chicken broth, water. Some other tomatoes in the refrigerator. Those beans, that corn, and the pork. While that all simmered away, I prepared the rest. Chopped cilantro, shredded cheddar, sour cream, black olives, lime segments, and freshly fried corn tortilla strips. The flavor of the soup was spicier than I’d intended but very good. And the fixings put it over the edge. My soup was better than fine. It cleaned out a good bit of tidbits in the refrigerator, and it involved no paper or electronic inspiration. It took until October 24, but I made a lovely soup.