Chicken Tortilla Soup
I never used to make soup. Good grief! What was I thinking? Soup is so simple to prepare and satisfying to eat. You just saute some vegetables, add other ingredients and seasonings, pour in some broth, and simmer until all the flavors come together. It can also be really economical, as soup is a great place to combine leftover meat, beans, or vegetables, adding broth to stretch them as far as possible.
If I had to pick only one soup to make for the rest of my days, this recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup would be the winner. The ingredients are simple, but the flavor is outstanding. Make enough for dinner and eat the leftovers for lunches through the week. This soup also freezes beautifully.
If you’re not a fan of celery or carrots, try bell peppers or corn. You could also easily make this vegetarian by swapping out the chicken for black beans. The corn tortilla strips simmer down into the broth, giving it the perfect consistency: hearty but not heavy.
This is one of my standard recipes when having people over for dinner. I just set out the big pot of soup with a bunch of different toppings: cilantro, avocado, sour cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips. People fill their own bowls to fit their tastes. And just about everyone comes back for seconds.
This is also the one and only soup all four of my kids will gobble down without a single squawk. Which is no small feat. As a kid, I hated soup. All those mystery ingredients swirled together! That’s just a nightmare for a picky eater. In fact, the other day when the snow was coming down, we had some friends’ kids over for dinner. As I set the table, the 5-year old informed me, “Soup isn’t my favorite, but I’ll survive.” Well thanks, Buddy, that’s big of you. At dinner, he gobbled down his first bowl and asked for more. Good survival skills.
The sun is shining this week, but I would still highly recommend squeezing this soup onto your menu plan. Fresh ingredients and flavorful soups are great any day of the week.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Mexican Chicken Soup
Yield: 8-10 servings
2 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped celery
2 c. chopped carrots
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock (How to make Homemade Chicken Stock)
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes in puree
2-4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
6 (6″) corn tortillas
4 c. cooked, shredded or chopped chicken
Topping options: sliced avocado, cilantro, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, lime wedges, and/or tortilla chips
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or enamel Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock).
- Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste.
- Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.
You know my undying affection for Ina Garten. Her cookbooks are just consistently excellent. This recipe comes from her Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You’ll Make Over and Over Again (Amazon).
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