Chicken Tortilla Soup With Salsa And Homemade Tortillas
Who can resist a hearty, smokey soup with just the right amount of heat that comes together quickly and tastes even better the next day. This is that soup. It’s warming and you will be craving it once a week if not more. It’s great for a quick weeknight meal but also great for entertaining as well. You can make a double batch to feed a crowd and it’s a pretty budget friendly and delicious way to entertain too.
On a very off point (possibly a slight rant coming - apologise in advance) a friend of mine retweeted or liked a tweet yesterday that had me feeling a bit off. It was innocent and I didn’t take it personally - but I guess I kind of did (not upset at friend just at the supposed humour behind the tweet itself) if I’m writing about it. It was someone who tweeted about getting a recipe off a blog and having to suffer through stories about fall and husbands and children… you get the idea - before getting to the actual recipe. It annoyed me for more than one reason. One that most people will respect any and every art form and find them all cool except if it has to do with food, food promotion and blogging. That thought is common even with uninformed people in my life that don’t understand it and think it’s frivolous (and a joke or a weird hobby) and can’t wrap their heads around the fact that it is a job, and takes energy, effort and forethought just like my job as a dental hygienist does.
Second they fail to consider that it takes effort to write anything let alone anything interesting. Why are you checking a blog on line for a recipe anyways? Is it cause it’s free and you don’t want to pay for a book? You can scroll right down to the recipe just as quickly as you can flip the “boring descriptions” of recipes in a recipe book. Admittedly some people are better writers and have lived more exciting lives than us bloggers but are they writing about it? Are they buying ingredients and cooking with them and testing recipes multiple times and writing them out and then sharing what they have learned about them and any tips and tricks they have learned along the way? Are they building a website and buying props and styling food, shooting food so it looks real and good enough to eat, then editing photos and uploading them along with the recipe and notes about it? Probably not. Yes a lot is involved in doing this job - that doesn’t even include the social media aspect of it. So either scroll or click the ‘skip to recipe’ button but think twice before complaining about all the ‘text’ a person/real human has written or have a smidgen of respect for the people who write the recipes and who are investing lots of time, energy and money on the recipes you are saving or screen shoting.
Promise rant over. Back to this recipe. Let’s talk about the meat options for this recipe. I love the fact that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken or possibly extra pieces you might have cooked from the weekend or from family dinner. Even if you make the chicken specifically for this recipe, you can prep the tortillas chips and the rest of the ingredients while its baking and the meal can still be done and ready in decent time. This recipe is completey delicious without the meat in it too. If you are going meatless I would suggest adding some corn and also making some extra chips to go with it and making sure you get your fair share of avocado salsa. You can also make it a two bean soup as well and add some chickpeas to it too. I have done that and it adds extra texture and definitely amps up the heartiness of it.
The tortillas can be lightly fried or they can be done in the oven. The recipe for both methods is included. I have had them both ways and I have to say I always have to stop myself from eating them all before the soup is done. I tend to make a double batch of them for snacking and for extra garnish because everyone always comes back for extra tortilla chips.
I would say this soup has a fair amount of smoke and heat if you don’t tolerate heat at all. If that is you and you can’t tolerate too much heat I would reduce the amount of paprika and chili powder and use less of or completely remove the chipotle pepper from the recipe. The chipotle pepper in adobo is the culprit for much of the heat. So if you do decide to use it definitely scrape out the seeds as they are the like little fire pellets in the pepper. If you want the flavour but not that burn you can just use a ½tsp of the adobo suace instead of adding the minced pepper. I know it seems like a waste to buy a small can just for that but if you do decide to include them, what helps is I usually jar the rest of the peppers and sauce and they last refrigerated for at least a month if not more - if you remember they are in there that is. But you can also blend and portion them out in tsp full size and freeze them for when you want to add some heat to a sauce or if and when you decide to make his soup again - which I know will be soon after you make it.
Half the fun of this soup is all the toppings and fixings. Don’t skimp on them. They give the soup extra flavour and texture and I think they are necessary. If you don’t have time to make the salsa do add some avocado slices and a dollop of sour cream or a squeeze of fresh lime - you won’t regret it. Ok I think I have said way too much so enjoy this hearty, savoury, quick, simple, subtlety chipotle-spiced, super flavourful, fiber and protein packed soup!
For the soup
- 6 tbsp cooking oil - I used avocado oil but any vegetable oil will do (reduce to 2 tbsp if you choose to bake your tortilla chips - See Recipe Notes #1)
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut crosswise into ¼-inch strips (cut them whole if you want longer strips)
- 1 large red or yellow onion, chopped
- 1 diced green bell pepper
- 1 diced red bell pepper
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsps ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, seeds removed and pepper chopped
- 1 tbsp of tomato paste
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 1 28-ounce can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes in thick purée
- 1 4-ounce can of green chilies
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 cups of shredded cooked turkey or chicken - approx 2 skinless chicken breast (I always use cooked rotisserie chicken that I pick up on the way home from work - life saver. See Recipe Notes #2 below if using from raw)
- ¼ cup lightly-packed and chopped cilantro leaves(optional)
- 1 small can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- A squeeze of lime to serve along with the salsa and chips and some crumbled queso fresco or mild feta cheese
- In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add half the tortilla strips and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 1 minute.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips and set aside and try not to eat them all before the soup is made.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, peppers and stir to cook vegetables until they start to soften and turn golden approx 5 minutes.
- Then add the garlic, spices and chipotle pepper and cook, stirring, until very fragrant approx 1-2 minutes.
- Then add the tomato paste and stir and cook it for a minute and then add the broth, tomatoes, green chilies, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, salt, and cilantro leaves, if using along with the chicken.
- Bring to a simmer.
- Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Then add the beans and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Before serving remove the bay leaves and cinnamon and stir in ⅓ to ⅔ of the tortilla chips.
- Ladle the soup into bowls then top with more of the crispy tortilla strips/chips and the salsa and cheese and more cilantro. The more toppings the merrier. Feel free to use any cheese and even sour cream and hot sauce for more heat.
For the Avocado Salsa
- 1 ripe Haas avocado
- 1 plum tomato
- ½ to 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 green onion
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh coriander
- 2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
- To make salsa, cut avocado in half lengthwise; open and discard pit.
- Using a blunt knife, score avocado into small cubes right down to leathery skin.
- Scoop diced avocado into a bowl.
- Seed and dice tomato and jalapeño; add to bowl.
- Thinly slice green onions; add along with coriander, lime juice and salt.
- Stir until well mixed. Set aside
- To bake the tortilla chips spray strips of fresh tortillas with olive oil spray and a sprinkle of salt, and bake in a 300 ° F oven until crisp.
- Drizzle the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Then sprinkle with a dash of each of the dried spices and bake at 375 ° F in a preheated oven until the chicken is cooked all the way through, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven. Cut the chicken into cubes or strips and set aside until ready to add to the soup.