I love soup. I love the warmth on cold days, its simplicity as a meal, how easy it is to customize. It is no wonder that it was the staple, everyday meal for generations past—economical, nutritious, filling—you can find soup recipes for any region of the country or the world. Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my favorites; I liken it to having a burrito in a bowl.
As with any soup, starting with a base of homemade stock is ideal. Sometimes you have stock on hand and sometimes you don’t, so you end up using bouillon and broth as indicated in this recipe. If you have the time, cook and shred the chicken in the morning and use the bones to make stock throughout the day, ready for soup that night.
Bring on the heat with extra chilies or tone it down with a little more sour cream and avocado on top. Every steaming bowl can be customized with toppings like your favorite salad bar, sure to please everyone at the table.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 whole chicken — cooked & shredded
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce — chopped fine
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 whole bay leaf
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped green chilies (mild)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring (hickory)
1 cup salsa — optional (any brand you like)
2 cans stewed tomatoes — broken up, smashed, with juices
3 teaspoons Better than Bouillon Beef Base
12 cups chicken broth with Better than Bouillon Chicken Base or stock
3 cups of frozen corn — defrosted
3 cans black beans — drained
1 cup tortilla chips — crushed
Monterey jack cheese
broken tortilla chips
cilantro — chopped
Cut up chicken into 8-9 pieces. Place all parts of the chicken, including the back, in a large pot with 3-4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon sea salt. Boil chicken until just cooked through, 25-30 minutes. Remove chicken from the pot and allow to cool until easy to handle. Skim broth or strain to remove brownish foam and reserve the broth. Add 4-5 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base to the broth and allow to dissolve.
While the chicken is cooling, sauté onion with oil in a large skillet until caramelized, add garlic, and cook until fragrant. Add spices, bay leaf, chilies in adobo, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, chopped green chilies, and salsa; simmer to meld flavors. Add stewed tomatoes and simmer another 10 minutes. Add to the pot with the chicken broth.
Add the corn and beans; bring to a low boil for 30 minutes. Add chicken and tortilla chips. Depending on the consistency, add 2-4 cups of beef broth made from the bouillon. If the soup seems too thin to add more liquid, just add the bouillon; simmer for 30 minutes. Salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve over broken tortilla chips with desired toppings.
Also posted in the Tortilla Soup Challenge: