Thursday, November 3, 2011

At Long Last -- Chicken Tortilla Soup

I may be the last person on earth to make chicken tortilla soup, let alone eat it.  But it was worth the wait.  (Even though I wish someone would have told me before now just how good it is.  I’ve wasted a lot of time here.)
When I announced that we were going to have chicken tortilla soup, our son-in-law said something like, “Oh, we just had that at such-and-such."  And "Didn’t we just make that at home last week, hon?” 
And silly me thought this would be novel. For me it was a tad novel because I often just build a soup with what I have on hand.This time I followed a recipe, The Pioneer Woman's.  Almost to the letter! That definitely makes it novel.  

The reason I made this soup – like the reason I make a lot of things – was not so much based on a grand plan or my weekly menu.  Nope.  It was just because I had a couple fresh jalapenos on hand.  From little jalapenos, great soups grow.

I veered off the printed recipe path only twice:  by using the two measly jalapenos I had in the fridge and by using flour instead of corn tortillas.  No, wait.  I veered three times.  I also didn't cook a chicken; I used rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. Next time I will use the corn tortillas. More authentic. And . . . I'd be following the recipe!

I didn’t realize – although I certainly should have – that the tortillas, when cut into skinny strips, would behave just like fettuccine noodles. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to amuse me.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onion
¼ cup diced red pepper
¼ cup diced green pepper
2 jalapenos, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 can (10 ounce) Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
32 ounces low sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups hot water
2 cans (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons cornmeal
5 whole tortillas (flour or corn) cut into uniform strips, about 2 inches long 
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, red and green peppers, jalapenos and minced garlic.  Stir and begin cooking, then add cumin and chili powder. Stir to combine and add the shredded chicken.  Stir again.

Add Rotel, chicken broth, tomato paste, water and beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. 

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water to make a paste and add to the soup.  Simmer for another 30 minutes. Check seasoning, adding more chili powder if needed.  Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.  Five minutes before serving gently stir in the tortilla strips.

Garnish with any or all of the following:  sour cream, shredded cheese, diced red onion, chopped scallions, cilantro, avocado.


  1. Gorgeous, delicious soup!!! I need to try this one, too~

  2. I have yet to find a tortilla soup I didn't love. Fun how it all came about from one ingredient that you had on hand. The soup is beckoning to me...

  3. No you are not the only one; I also am in the same boat. I really really want to try this; and you just inspired me to make it. Thanks Rosemary.

  4. I always order this when we go for Tex mex, just never have attempted to make it at home. Looks easy enough though and I am sure homemade beats anything out there. That picture sure does entice-tasty and comforting. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love tortilla soup and yours looks just fabulous, perfect for the rainy, cold day we're having here in North Carolina, thanks!

  6. This is one of my favorite soups. Your version sounds wonderful and you photo is terrific. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  7. Hi Rosemary! I just found your lovely blog via Eat Yourself Skinny. I love tortilla soup; perfect for fall. I'm your newest follower, and hope to see you over at soon. Have a great weekend!

  8. Wow - this looks absolutely delicious! I love tortilla soup....and I would have used flour tortillas and rotisserie chicken, too! Delicious and your pictures are terrific!

  9. This looks incredibly delicious! I love foods with Mexican flair!

  10. This looks a really sensational soup! so hearty and good - lovely recipe
    Mary x

  11. Hey man, I get excited about corn tortillas too :) Brilliant soup! You made me realize I haven't had any since leaving Texas 5 years ago! I must remedy that.

  12. This is a novel one for me! I've only had tortilla soup once and have never made it myself. Yours looks delicious!

  13. Hmmm looks delicious, especially it's been so cold these days. I actually have never made anything from Pioneer Woman's recipe. This looks like a good one to try since you mentioned how good it is already!

  14. I'm loving your new look... you MUST tutor me!

    And you know I'm a fan of the soup ;)

  15. Smile. The blog is looking lovely! And I'm right there with you. I made this soup for the first time a few months was so good! Thank you for sharing another post with me. After a morning of baking, I smiled. Much love!

  16. This is a lovely bowl of soup. It is a new recipe for me and new soup recipe is always welcome I can drink soup everyday.

  17. Wow, and wow! You remember the goofy song, called
    "yummy, yummy, yummy in your tummy?"...think it's from the sixties, but it just rang a bell in my head, LOL...but so true!
    Your soup is a welcome dish even in S. Florida at this time of the year, where it was in the low 60's this morning, with plenty of sunshine!

    Your presentation is as beautiful, as the soup, itself. I have the exact same platter, and love it! A genius way to serve it as a "charger plate!"


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