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.
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.