Recipe: Tortilla Soup

16 Sep

School’s back in. The weather is cooling off. Trees are starting to turn. It’s feeling fall-ish and therefore time to make some soup.

Sadly soup is one of the things that Mr. Bacon finds offensive. Something about it being ‘not real food’. I can appreciate why he feels commercial soups that are 90% flavourless broth are not ‘real food’ but when I make soup, it’s usually so thick and chock full of tasty things that it definitely (to steal a slogan from Chunky Soup) eats like a meal.

This recipe is no exception. Given to me by a friend, the first time I tried it, I knew I would love it before the recipe was even finished. The rich, warm spicy smell that comes out of the pot automatically gets my tastebuds dancing. Like a lot of things I make, this recipe freezes really well and is a great option for a brown bag lunch.

Tortilla Soup


3 tbsp cooking oil
1 bag of tortilla chips
1 onion, chopped
4 large cloves of garlic
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chipotle powder (you can substitute chili powder, but the chipotle adds a hint of smoky flavour)
small pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth (6 cups)
3 cups crushed tomatoes (1 28 oz can)
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 3/4 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 can corn niblets (Mexicorn if you can find it)
1 can black or kidney beans, rinsed
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 pound cheddar, grated
Lime wedges, cilantro leaves and tortillas for garnish

Cook the chicken – either roast it in the oven with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper (about 15-20 minutes at 400F), or in a pan. Or take a lesson in laziness from me, and use the meat from a pre-cooked grocery store BBQ chicken.

In a large heavy pot heat the oil, add the onion, garlic and spices – cook while stirring for 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro leaves and about 2-3 good handfuls of tortilla chips. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes; remove the bay leaves.

Break out your immersion blender and whizz the soup base until it’s smooth. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, puree the soup in batches in your blender. Don’t fill it too full!) Then add the chicken, corn and beans then bring to a simmer and cook until done – about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the avocado (or leave it out all together if you’re not an avocado fan like me).

Serve the soup by placing a small handful of slightly crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl. Top with the soup, shredded cheese, and cilantro. Add a generous squeeze of lime to the top – the lime really makes the dish!

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