Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

This is something I never thought I'd make (maybe a throwback to fussy childhood eating and it looked like a throw-everything-in-the-pot kind of soup with suspicious things floating around), but I wanted to bring a meal to a friend who recently had surgery and knew this was a favorite of hers, so I decided to give it a go. What a nice surprise. Tons of complimentary flavors and textures - heat, citrus, smoke, herby, creamy and crispy all in familiar and healing chicken broth. Plus avocado, cilantro, crunchy tortilla strips and lime that you add to your own bowl, which is always fun. So fresh and satisfying.

Tortilla Soup

Makes 4-6 servings

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or use a purchased rotisserie chicken)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
2 red or yellow sweet peppers
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 lime
2 avocados, diced
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350º

2. Put chicken breasts on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Cool and shred with a fork. Set aside.

3. Dice onions and sweet peppers. Mince garlic. Cut the top off the jalapeno, split in half lengthwise, remove seeds and white membrane then chop into a fine dice (try to touch it as little as possible with your bare hands - the substance (capsaicin) it leaves behind burns like the dickens and takes a while to wear off).

4. Heat the olive oil in a large soup kettle over medium heat and add onions and peppers. Saute until soft, 10-15 minutes, then add tomato paste, garlic, cumin, paprika and jalapeno. Saute for another few minutes, being careful not to brown the garlic, then add chicken stock, salt and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add beans and shredded chicken. Partially cover and leave alone for 20 minutes or so.

5. Squeeze half a lime into the soup, stir, and serve with lots of avocado, cilantro, tortilla strips, cheese, sour cream and maybe a bit more fresh lime juice.

Tortilla Strips

6 flour or corn tortillas
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400º. Cut tortillas into 1/2 inch strips. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake for 12-15 minutes, turning halfway through so they brown evenly. Cool and serve with the soup.


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