Fiesta of Flavor: Chicken Tortilla Soup
January 12, 2010
I’m a sincere lover of Mexican food – I crave it at least twice a month. When I was in college, I would indulge at the local taquería in muy grande burritos and never gain a single ounce. These days, if I so much as look at a burrito sideways, I gain five pounds.
Two years ago, Mr. CG and I were dining at our favorite local Mexican food restaurant. He ordered the chicken tortilla soup. I tried it for the first time, and fell in love. All the flavor of a delicious taco, in a bowl, but healthier and lower in calories ? Sign me up, señor. Since the restaurant was reluctant to share their recipe, I spent over a year trying to capture the same flavor by tweaking my own recipe for sopa de tortilla de pollo.
On a cold winter day, there’s nothing I want more than a hot bowl of soup And a nap. But the latter is not happening. Here’s my recipe for ‘taco in a bowl’. It’s yummy yummy to your tummy. Muy bueno. Enjoy.
Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup
Pantry (Dry) Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Four 14 oz. cans chicken broth (or equivalent with bullion)
1 package taco seasoning
1 tbsp red taco sauce (mild or medium)*
4 oz. can diced green chiles (mild or medium)
6 oz. can tomato paste
8 oz. petite diced tomatoes – half the can and completely optional
3/4 tsp ground cumin
*add another tbsp taco sauce if you like it spicy
4 chicken breasts
14 oz. water
1 medium onion – finely diced
1.5 cups diced celery
1.5 cups diced carrots
1.5 cups roasted or frozen kernel corn
4 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded jack cheese
Sliced avocado (optional, if available)
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Start by dicing your onion, celery, and carrot. In a large pot or dutch oven, soften your onion, celery and chiles in 1 tbsp vegetable oil for 3 – 4 minutes on medium low heat.
Add chicken broth, and then fill one can with 14 more ounces of water and add to pot.
Add carrots, corn, tomato paste, taco sauce, and cumin. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to low.
Meanwhile, coat your chicken breasts in taco seasoning.
Grill chicken breasts on an indoor grill or a panini maker for 6 to 8 minutes. You can also broil in your oven for the same amount of time, but to me, the grilled chicken tastes better.
Once cooked, dice your chicken into chunks, then toss into soup pot.
Cook soup on low for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ten minutes before your soup is done (or before you intend to serve) thinly slice your corn tortillas.
Toss in pan with 1 tbsp vegetable oil, and stir on medium heat until lightly browned.
Soup can be made one day in advance, stored in fridge and reheated. Serve hot by garnishing with fresh corn tortilla strips, shredded jack cheese and fresh avocado slices (if available).
Other optional garnishes: fresh chopped cilantro, squeeze of lime, sour cream, or diced fresh tomatoes.
One note on ingredients: If celery, or diced tomatoes, or corn is not your thing, then simply leave it out. No worries, amiga. The great ‘taco’ flavor comes from the combination of the liquid ingredients and the dry seasonings.
This recipe serves six. Total calories per serving: 300 including garnish of cheese and tortilla strips. Add another 60 calories per serving for the avocado. But it’s worth it.
Quiero sopa de tortilla de pollo. Y usted?