After a long week of travel, all I really wanted to do this weekend was snuggle with my family, watch movies, and eat ice cream. But since it was cold enough to feel like winter, we opted for soup…chicken tortilla soup. Before I became a vegetarian, this was one of my favorite soups to make because of it’s bold, intense flavors and heartiness. My children love soup, and since I had little desire for something elaborate, I thought I’d make a temperate version of this soup so my kids would eat it.
The origin of Chicken Tortilla Soup can be traced back to both Mexico (sopa de tortilla) and the Southwest, and variations include a variety of vegetables and condiments. The soup is broth-based and does not have to include chicken. In fact, I’ve tinkered with the idea of making this soup with beans or lentils. The only consistent ingredient in Tortilla Soup is the tortilla. Some chefs use fresh corn tortillas (which we used in our recipe) while others opt for baked or fried tortilla strips, often in shades of red and green.
My husband likes his tortilla soup spicy, but since we knew our kids would not eat anything that had more than a hint of red pepper, we opted to temper our spices. So, if you like a good deal of spice, be sure to double up on our recommendations. Here is our version of the classic Chicken Tortilla Soup.
- 2 Chicken breasts poached and shredded
- 1 Poblano Pepper roasted and chopped
- 1/2 each Red and Green Bell Pepper chopped
- 1 small Onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- 2 Carrots chopped
- 2 T Olive Oil
- 2 Cans of Diced Tomatoes with juices
- 2 T Fresh Cilantro chopped
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Garnish with Jack Cheese Fresh Avocado, Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt, and Fresh Corn Tortilla Strips
Poach chicken until cooked through, reserve water for soup (this is your "chicken broth"), set aside to cool
During that time, chop fresh ingredients
Sautee peppers, onion, garlic and carrots in olive oil until soft in a separate pot
Add 2 cups broth, tomatoes, cilantro, and spices and bring to a boil
Shred chicken and add to soup
Add additional broth, as necessary
Add salt and pepper to taste
Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to meld
Serve hot with desired garnishes
My kids absolutely loved this soup, in part, because of the fresh tortilla strips. The flavors, although bold, were mild and neither of my kids even mentioned the word “spicy.” To serve this soup, I recommend setting up a display of garnishes so each person can personalize their soup with their favorites.
While I have yet to try this, I’m thinking about exploring a vegetarian option made with tons of fresh veggies, beans or lentils, and vegetable broth as the base.