Tortilla Soup (31 Days: Day 1)

Oh, my goodness. Fall is here. That means soups, stews and chilis for dinner. I absolutely love that kind of food. And I absolutely LOVE this soup! It's warm and hearty, fills you up, and refreshes your very soul. The spices, chicken and vegetables give it heft, while the cilantro and lime juice lighten the taste. This soup can be made from scratch in thirty minutes, if you have precooked chicken on hand. That's right. Homemade soup on the table in half an hour.

I may have to go eat another bowl. Right now.

For this soup, you'll need two chicken breasts  (I boiled a bunch of split breasts after I went grocery shopping and froze them, two per bag, until I needed them. For this soup I let them thaw. Then I skinned them, deboned them, and chopped them into nice, bite-sized pieces.) You're also gonna need a can of diced tomatoes, some chicken broth (or water and bouillon), one clove of garlic, a medium onion, fresh cilantro, granulated sugar, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and anything else you want to throw in there. For toppings you'll need shredded cheese, sour cream, more fresh cilantro, avocado, salsa, tortilla chips, and anything else you can think of.

 (I added some basil, chili powder, cumin, a carrot, some zucchini, whole kernel corn and black beans. You could also add bell peppers, jalapenos.... The list is as long as your imagination.)

Also, be a dear and pretend this bag of grated zucchini from my freezer appears in the picture of the rest of the ingredients. It was in the microwave thawing when I took the other picture. And in case you're wondering, this is a snack sized zipper bag.

Blend your sugar, undrained tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, dried basil, and other assorted veggies (for me this meant carrots and zucchini) in a blender or food processor until they're chunky. If you use canned corn, black beans, or anything like that, don't blend them. Just drain and rinse them. Put all the veggies and chicken into a large pot.

Here's a close-up to show you that I pulsed the onions, garlic, carrots and zucchini until they were non-existent, since my son swears he hates onions, and he sometimes eyes carrots and the like suspiciously. I had to add a little water to my mini-food processor to accomplish this easily. I just used part of the 6 cups required to make my chicken broth.

Add your chicken broth (or in my case, chicken bouillon and water).

Stir everything up.

Bring to a boil, then cut the heat down and simmer about 20 minutes. After simmering, taste your soup to see what spices you want to add. I added about four drops of Texas Pete hot sauce, five or six drops of lime juice, 1/8 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/8 teaspoon cumin. Then I took my son's portion out (he detests anything with a lot of spice) before adding several more drops of hot sauce, another 1/8 teaspoon or so of the chili powder and cumin, and a few more drops of lime juice. This part is purely up to your taste buds, so if you like spicy food, then feel free to add more than I did. Just make sure to taste it along the way so you don't over spice your soup.

To serve, pour hot soup onto a bowl. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, more lime juice and cilantro, sliced avocado, salsa, or anything else your heart desires. Serve tortilla chips on the side (or make your own using flour or corn tortillas). (Most tortilla soup recipes say to add the tortilla chips to the bottom of the bowl, or float them on top of the soup. I don't like it when my tortilla chips get soggy. To each his own.)

My three year old loved this soup. I think it was all the cheese on top and the tortilla chips on the side that clinched his verdict. My boyfriend liked this so much he drank the broth from his bowl after he ate his soup.

Out of that entire pot, there was enough left for maybe three bowls of soup for lunch tomorrow. If I don't go eat all the leftovers now.

This could also be made in the crock pot. Just throw everything in and let it simmer on warm for four hours or so, and you should be good to go. The chicken is already cooked, so really you're just heating everything up and letting the flavors meld a little. If you don't want soggy corn or beans you could add them the last forty-five minutes to an hour of cooking.

And now, your re-cap.

2 chicken breasts, cooked, deboned and cubed
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5-6 cups chicken broth (or 5-6 teaspoons chicken bouillon and 5-6 cups hot water)
Salt, pepper, hot sauce, lime juice, chili powder, basil and cumin to taste

Plus any other vegetables you want to add. (I added one medium carrot, chopped, about a half cup of shredded zucchini and one can each black beans and whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed. You could add bell peppers, jalapenos, or anything else that sounds good.)

You'll also need toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, more fresh cilantro, more lime juice, salsa, sliced avocado, or anything else that sound delicious. Also, don't forget the tortilla chips, either store bought or homemade.

1. In a blender, pulse caned tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, basil, sugar and other vegetables until chunky. (I didn't do this to my corn or beans, but I did do this to my carrots and zucchini.)

2. Add vegetables, chicken and broth (or water and bullion) to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Taste your soup, then add spices, hot sauce or lime juice as desired.

4. Serve soup topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, more fresh cilantro, or anything else you crave. Serve tortilla chips on the side.

This makes about 5-6 servings of soup. Leftover soup is better the next day, as all the flavors have more time to meld together.

What would you top this soup with? What other vegetables would you add? Have any questions?

**Disclaimer - I am not affiliated with the companies that own the products pictured in any way. That's just the brands I happened to have in my kitchen when I cooked these. If another brand had been on sale cheaper the day I bought these ingredients, then that's what I would have bought.


Sugarr2518 said...

Yummy! This looks and sounds so tasty, especially with the colder months coming up:)

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