A Chicken Tortilla Soup You Can Swear By

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I have a long list of Swear-By recipes including Gordon’s Ramsay’s F-Word burgers, Alton Brown’s meatloaf and Tyler Florence’s fajitas. I also Swear By my Dad’s chili, my Mom’s homemade bread and my own Chicken Tortilla Soup. I've been making it long enough that I'm not sure where the original recipe came from and now, I’ve tinkered with it enough that I just got used to calling it my own. That said, I make it on those days when I don't want to do anything labor intensive but still want people to show up at the dinner table the first time I call.

This is a great one-pot recipe and something anyone allowed to use knives can prepare. This is the only recipe I use where I actually boil the poultry as the idea of boiled meat is something I've always found off-putting, but here it works just fine and unless I have leftover grilled chicken to throw in, I boil away. I like to throw this soup in a crock pot (after sweating the onions and garlic in a pan) early in the day and let it simmer on low for a couple of hours, but if you don’t have the time to do so, you can whip it up in half an hour easy. [Recipe Follows]

Jules' Super Simple Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

8 cups chicken broth
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 cans diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 can corn (drained)
½ can black beans (rinsed)
1 lime (zested and juiced)
1 ½ Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne
¼ c cilantro (roughly chopped)
Shredded pepper jack cheese
Corn tortilla strips or chips
1 avocado (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)

Heat oil in the pan. Add onion and sweat until translucent (3 minutes). Toss minced garlic in with onions and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, chili pepper and cumin. Heat to a low boil. Add whole, raw chicken breasts to pot and cover, boiling for about ten minutes.

Remove chicken from pot. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover soup. When chicken has cooled, shred it with a fork and return chicken pieces to the pot. Stir in corn and black beans, cayenne and lime. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer covered for at least fifteen minutes.

While soup simmers, prepare your toppings (shred cheese, roughly chop cilantro, peel and slice avocados, set out sour cream and tortilla strips or crumbled chips). I also serve it with Tobasco and chilies also on the side, as some of us like more heat than others, but you can easily turn our soup into your soup with an extra twist of this or a dollop of that. You really can’t mess this one up. I swear by it.

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