Posted by: Sarah | December 3, 2015

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Bowl of Soup

This is sorta inspired by several restaurant versions of the same name.  I make no claim to any authenticity.  It’s just one of our fave things I’ve cobbled together when we wanted soup.  (And it began life as one of those soup kits, believe it or not.)

There are several variations, with differing degrees of spiciness.  I made this one mild since we had a dinner guest that night without our love of 5-alarm oral infernos.

So, get your chicken.  Hopefully, you thawed yours the night before, and not that morning like I did.  We played Settlers of Catan till 2AM with a friend and I forgot to take it out.  Oops.  So, for those of you MUCH more prepared than I am, I’ll tell you how long for the slow cooker version.  For those of you running short on time, and a lack of planning (like me), you’ll get the fast and somewhat dirty version.

Raw Chicken Breasts

I have my two overly large mutant sized chicken breasts here.  This recipe supports up to 4 of these bad boys, but unless you’re feeding an army, or cut down on the veggies, you’ll find 2 is probably good.

Cubed Chicken Breasts 2

(You’re going to see these little clear bowls a lot.  I got them at IKEA a few years back along with some identical white ones for a few bucks each to hold things while I was cooking.  Since I do a LOT of cooking, they’ve come in handy.)  I cut up the chicken, it was still a little frozen, but not to much that I couldn’t get a knife through.  I just had to stop and warm up my fingers every so often.  (Pre-arthritis sucks.)  Don’t forget to get rid of the fat, skin, and windpipe, if necessary.  Set the chicken aside for a bit.

Get a new cutting board out, if you can.  Or wash the one you just used.  And change to a paring or vegetable knife. Get your… [drumroll] GARLIC!

Whole Garlic

(And that’s what I get for taking pics in a hurry.  Sorry.)   And you can see the green onions behind it.  They were 3 bunches for a $1 and I thought they’d be awesome with this.  Don’t worry, they’re not necessary.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Garlic, first.

Quartered Garlic

Cut off your ends and quarter it.  Get your green onions:


And you’ll need one and half bunches.  If you don’t have green onions, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup diced white onions will be fine.  Slice thinly and put them in a bowl with the garlic.  (Here’s a white bowl like the clear one.)

Sliced Shallots

Now, while I was slicing the green onion, I was heating up my EVOO in my Ninja at Medium Heat.  If you’re also in a hurry and not using a slow-cooker and don’t have a Ninja, a large soup pot or dutch oven will also work.  If you’re going the slow cooker route, don’t preheat.  But you will need to have prepped your cooker.

Oiled Ninja Pot

(I really need to start measuring the oil.)  That’s about 2 tablespoons.  If you’re doing this for the slow cooker, start putting all your ingredients in as I list them, now.  If you’re doing this for a 2-hour or 1-hour simmer, add your onions and garlic now.

If you want this to be spicy, this is when you’ll add a half to a whole jalapeno or serrano pepper.  Usually, we go with a whole, seeded jalapeno, or a half, seeded seranno.  You can certainly go hotter, but honestly, you still have chili powder to add and any hotter, you risk not tasting the soup, just the pain.  But, like I said, we have a non-heat-loving guest.  Mild it is.

Let the garlic, onion and [optional] pepper soften.  Lower the temp to Low on your Ninja or medium-low on your stove.

Get your carrots

Baby Carrots

If they’re not petite, just the normal baby carrots, quartering them is necessary.  Frankly, any size is fine, as long as they’re not huge.  If you’re using the full sized carrots, slicing them into coins is good, too.

Quartered Carrots

When you’ve got about two cups quartered, or about the whole bag, dump them into your onions and garlic.

Carrots onions and garlic

Heat for about 5-10 minutes on medium, until the carrots are soft.

While that’s heating, get your spices.

Ancho Chili Powder

You can find ancho chili powder in the bulk section of HEB or probably any other grocery store.  If you don’t have any, regular chili powder is certainly just fine.  Ancho tends to be darker and a little more intense, but I’m not significantly impressed enough by it to go all food snobby over it. You’ll need 2 to 2 and half tablespoons.  (A little extra spilled out into my pot, so if you want it more intense, I won’t tell anyone)

Paprika Oregano Cumin

I will go snobby over Organic, but that’s probably a different post to explain why I try to stick to that.  That being said, I used 2 teaspoons each of these.

Go ahead and throw these in.  Because next up, you’re adding the chicken.

Adding Chicken

While the chicken is browning, you need your black beans.

Black Beans

Each of these containers is about 3 cups.  I made them two weeks ago and never got around to using them for tacos or various other things.  (Rinsed, dried black beans, slow cooked for 8 hours in 10 cups water with 1/2 seeded jalapeno and 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper.)  They equal 2 cans of regular black beans.

Rinse the black beans (I had to rinse mine because we want mild and because they’re only partially thawed), and dump both cans in the pot. Stir everything together right now to keep everything from burning.

Frozen corn

Next, two 16 oz bags of frozen corn.  Frozen is better than can in this case because canned is a bit too… squishy? for soup.  Let’s just say, tried it once, didn’t hold up well.  (And they were out of organic corn.  Sigh.) Stir again.

Now… I know not everyone likes mushrooms.

Baby Portobella Mushrooms

So, these are optional.

Slicing mushrooms

But if you’re adding them, rinse them all well, cut the end off the stems, and slice.  I used the whole package.

Sliced Mushrooms 2

Just dump the whole bunch in.  Now, for the broth.  You’ll need two cans of tomatoes.  Don’t bother draining first.  Just dump both cans in.  “But, Sia!” you cry.  “It’s getting really full!  Are you sure?”

Of course I’m sure!  Just don’t make a mess and do it carefully.

Broth and tomatoes

Now, the chicken broth.  HEB had a sale (thank God).  Unfortunately, the 32oz size was sold out, so I had to get two 16 oz sized cartons.  You will use about one and a half of these.  If you manage to get your grubby mitts on a 32oz carton, good for you!  But to make it easy, you want 20 lazy-assed American Fluid Ounces.

Squeeze the crap out of three of these:

3 limes

(Put the juice in the soup, not a margarita.  Though I’m sure you really want one right now.)

Tequila and wine 2

The wine is for me.  The tequila is for the soup.  Bryan HAS OPINIONS about tequila.  He considers Cuervo crap, so I cook with it.  Don’t ask what he actually drinks.  Thankfully, he doesn’t drink it often or we’d go bankrupt.

Anyway, the cheapest tequila you can stand and pour 1 full measuring cup into the broth.


Cilantro is also optional.  I know it tastes terrible to some people, so it’s not really necessary.  If you do add it, use 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on how much you like it.  I used 1/2 at Bryan’s request.

Here’s what you should be looking at.  (If you need more broth, add more from  the carton.)

Assembled in the pot

Slow cookers, you’re now ready to cook on low for 8 hours, medium for 6.

Ninjas and soup pot-ers?  Simmer on medium for an hour.  Two if you can, since the longer it cooks the better.  Lower the heat, if the boiling gets too aggressive.

Now, the reason this is called Tortilla Soup.


Normally, I take a stack of tortillas, cut them into strips about a 1/2 inch wide, spray them with olive oil, salt, and lime juice and spread them on a baking sheet to bake in an oven at 400 degrees for 20 -30 minutes, turning every 10, until crispy on the edges.  (Good way to use up old tortillas.) BUT…

Tortilla Chips

I had a big bag of these chips.  They’re deep fried tortillas that HEB made, turning them into chips.  They stood up well to being crumbled into the soup like crackers (much better than say, Tostitos, or any other commercial corn chip).  So, we used these.

Jack Cheese

And we topped the soup with some variety of Monterrey Jack cheese.

This soup fed three people Saturday (seconds for everyone), and gave us lunch Sunday.  Gave me lunch every day this week and gave us both lunch yesterday.  And I sent some home with our friend for his girlfriend who couldn’t make it.  So yes.  HUGE.



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