Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Tortilla Soup with Chicken

This was the perfect way to use the cooked chicken and tortillas in the fridge. Oh yes, and some of the many ripe avocados I seem to have accumulated. This is a light tomato broth, with corn, beans and chicken that is garnished with cheese, sour cream, avocado and tortilla chips.

Instead of using purchased tortilla chips, which are full of salt, I made some baked tortilla strips, which are easy to make, and allow you to control the amount of added salt and fat....but they still have lots of crunch to add to the soup.

Start off by baking the tortilla strips. Heat the oven to 350F and have a baking sheet or two ready.

Cut two 10" flour tortillas into 2" strips.

Place the tortilla strips in a large bowl, and add:

1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil

Toss well to coat all of the strips with the oil and seasonings, separating them with your finger tips as you do so.

Spread the tortilla strips in a single layer on the baking sheets.

Bake until the strips are golden and crispy, about 10 - 15 minutes, checking halfway through.

Allow them to cool completely.

To make the soup, cook in olive oil:

1 large sliced onion

Season with salt and pepper while cooking.

When the onions are starting to soften, add:

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried chipotle chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

When the onions are soft add:

1 X 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, with the juice.

Bring to a boil.


4 cups chicken stock

Bring to a boil. Taste and add a bit of sugar if the tomatoes are too acidic for your taste. I added about 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in:

1 cup pinto beans, rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 cooked chicken breast, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve the soup; allow people to add their choice of toppings: the baked tortilla strips, diced avocado, grated Cheddar and Pepper Jack cheese, sour cream and chopped green onions.

  • If you don't want to make tortilla chips/strips, use purchased tortilla chips. They can be crushed into the soup at the table, or you can crush them before serving them.
  • I like to offer a choice of grated cheese at the table...Cheddar and Pepper Jack give the option of adding a bit of extra heat. White cheddar, smoked white cheddar or queso fresco are other options.
  • Stir some lime zest and juice into the sour cream to add some brightness; alternatively stir some chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce into it to add more heat; leave it plain to cool everything down a bit. Plain Greek yoghurt can be used instead of sour cream if you prefer.
  • Chopped fresh chilies can be included in the toppings.
  • I used frozen corn, but corn on the cob can be used instead. If you can, grill the corn and then cut the kernels off the cob and use them to add some smokiness to your soup.
  • Black beans would be my first choice for this soup, but all I had were pinto beans. It doesn't really matter which type of bean you use. If you are using canned beans, make sure you rinse them before adding them to the soup.
  • As you can see in the picture, I used some red onion and some yellow onion. I planned to use a red onion, only to find that I only had about 1/4 of one to use, so I used yellow onion for the rest. Red onions have a slightly milder flavour than yellow.
  • If you want a spicier soup, add more chili powder, chipotle chilies or even a bit of cayenne pepper. Of course, you can also add less if you aren't partial to too much heat, and allow people to adjust the heat at the table by providing chopped chilies and Pepper Jack cheese.

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