Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Step-by-Step Recipe: Chicken Tortilla Soup

I'll be honest with you all, the heat of the summer is making me cranky.  Despite many years lived in the south, including 6 years in Florida, I've just never become a fan of hot weather.  It could be because I'm fair-skinned and don't tan (so I just walk around looking flushed and sweaty all summer), or maybe because my hair has just enough natural wave in it that the humidity turns me into a big frizzball.  Or perhaps because it's so hot that I don't even feel like cooking.  Really. 

Truth be told, I haven't cooked that much in the last couple of weeks.  A couple of nights ago we grilled burgers (no recipe needed).  Last week we had "kitchen sink pasta" at least once (pasta + whatever we've got on hand, all tossed together).  But nothing really worth sharing.  My parents were visiting over the Fourth of July holiday, and we only cooked at home once.  What did we make?  Grilled pork chops (again, no recipe), and two of the salads from my last post.  (That squash ribbon salad is awesome, by the way! Even my husband, who doesn't care for squash or zucchini, really enjoyed it!)  All delicious, but nothing really blogworthy.

And I'm afraid it's going to get worse.  My oven is on the fritz again (it had a slow meltdown this past spring, and we had it repaired under our home warranty; the same issue seems to be rearing its head again), which means no baking, roasting, broiling, etc.  Not only does this limit my options, it also just puts me in a bad mood.  We have tons of blueberries at home, and I can't even bake muffins!  (I know, I know.  Cry me a river.)

But you, my friends and few readers, deserve better than this.  So I'm going to reach back in time and provide a recipe I made a while ago, and then I will endeavor somehow to find recipes to share that don't involve the oven.

When it's nearly triple-digit heat outside, it seems a silly time to share a soup recipe.  But I honestly think this soup recipe is so delicious and flexible that you could adjust it to make it lighter in warm months and heartier in cool months.  And it's easy and quick, which are good things no matter what the weather's like. 

I found the inspiration for this recipe from a recipe for crockpot chicken tacos on Tasty Kitchen. The chicken taco meat has three ingredients.  What's not to love?  I recommend you give them a try, as well, and then you can use some of the leftover chicken for this soup, as the original recipe intended.  But if not, no worries, you can still make this soup in a snap.

Click for recipe and pictures!

Start be assembling your ingredients.  This time I used the Southerwestern blend corn, just because that's what I had on hand.  Not pictured: the seasoning I used, but I believe I used Arizona Dreaming from Penzey's.  I used blue corn tortilla chips, but you could use any kind you like.

Dump everything but the cheese, sour cream, and tortillas into a medium-size pot and heat over medium.  Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 30 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning as appropriate.  To serve, ladle into bowls, add about 1/4 cup of cheese, a small handful of crushed chips, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of more cheese and cilantro, if desired.

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup, recipe adapted by Julie, original found on Tasty Kitchen
Time: 30-45 minutes, depending on whether you need to cook chicken. Serves: 4.


  • 2 cups of leftover chicken taco meat from recipe linked above, OR half of a rotisserie chicken, meat shredded, OR, 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded (if you do this last technique, the chicken will have less flavor, so I recommend adding more seasoning to the soup)
  • 1 32. oz box of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can of Milder Ro-Tel (tomatoes with chilies)
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
  • juice of one lime, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp. of your favorite Mexican or Tex-Mex seasoning (taco seasoning will do in a pinch, but try for the lower sodium variety)
  • Tortilla chips, crushed, for serving
  • Light sour cream, for serving.
  • 1 to 2 cups cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, for serving (depending how naughty you want to be)


  1. Add the first seven ingredients to a medium-size pot and simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If you want the cilantro to retain more of its bright color and flavor, you can hold off on adding half of it until the last 10 minutes.)
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  (Seriously.  I've been known to add a pinch of Adobo seasoning if I feel like it.  You could add some cayenne for some heat.  Just be sure to taste as you go!)
  3. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, add about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, a small handful of crushed chips, and a dollop of sour cream to each.  Garnish with more cheese and cilantro, if desired.  (The cheese added first will sort of melt into the soup, adding body and richness.  In the summer, you might use less of this.)  Enjoy!
Feel free to experiment with this one--you could use the regular Ro-Tel for a bit more spice, or you could add some black beans to the mix.  Or maybe even some finely diced zucchini, considering it's summer and zucchini is everywhere!  This recipe almost isn't even a recipe--and some nights, that's just what the doctor ordered!

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