I thought this would be simply a recipe for tortilla soup that I developed a few year ago, but it seems my daughter and I keep coming up with the same idea at the same time. We chatted over the weekend and I mentioned my next blog would be tortilla soup and she said she was making tortilla soup and putting it in her blog the next day. So first I’ll give you a link to her blog http://www.annalisala.com/2011/01/23/tortilla-soup/
Instead of just the recipe I will explain why I decided to make tortilla soup and how I came up with my version (which is very similar to Annalisa’s — wonder how that happened?) followed by a discussion of the ingredients.
I liked the tortilla soup at a local restaurant chain that no longer exists due to a health issue associated with it. Their version was a very simple tomato base with very little else in it except a few garnishes. When the restaurant closed I began looking fora tortilla soup mix since I was intimidated at the thought of making it from scratch. But like most mixes I never found any that were very good. Then I began looking at online recipes trying to find one I liked. Over time I came up with my own version which came about by choosing the combination of ingredients that I liked and making it over and over adjusting the amounts until I liked the final results.
My final recipe follows with a discussion of how I vary it depending on what I have on hand or cannot find at the store when I make it.
Pot of Tortilla Soup in the making
The soup in the picture to the left is now ready for the corn, beans and thickeners to be added and then cooked about another half hour before serving.
2 – 3 cups of Cooked and Shredded Chicken
1 T cooking oil
1 large Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 -2 T Jalapeno, chopped finely
2 T Poblano Pepper chopped or more if desired
1 – 2 T Chili Powder
1 1/2 t Ground Cumin Powder
1/2 -1 t. Ground Cayenne Pepper
4 cups Tomatoes, chopped
1 jar Chipotle Salsa about 12 ounces (see discussion)
1 – 2 T Tomato Paste, to thicken
8 – 10 crushed Tortillia Chips to thicken or some masa harina may be used to thicken if desired
1/4 cup frozen Corn or more if preferred
1 can Pinto Beans (drained and rinsed) or 1 can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
Saute the garlic and onion in oil for a few minutes until softened.
Add jalapenos, poblano peppers along with the chili powder, cumin, and cayenne stirring while you saute it a few minutes longer.
Add the chipotle salsa stirring all together and let the flavors combine about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken meat and stock and let it simmer 15 minutes longer.
Add tomatoes and salsa and simmer another 20 minutes.
Taste and adjust spices at this point.
Add beans and corn along with tomato paste and crushed tortillas or masa harina. Continue to cook until beans and corn are heated and as thick as you like it about 30 minutes.
Garnishes for the soup once it is ready to serve:
Shredded Cheese — Any Mexican style Cheese or , Monterey Jack or Cheddar
Sliced Green Onions
Tortilla Chips (see discussion)
To serve soup: Either ladle it into a plain bowl or over some shredded cheese. The cheese will thicken the soup more. Then garnish with more cheese if desired, a sprinkle of green onions and cilantro, a few avocado chunks, a dollop of sour cream and a lime wedge with tortilla chips around the edges.
Tortilla soup with Garnishes
Discussion of Recipe
My original recipe I used two cooked shredded chicken breasts, but my husband and I prefer dark meat. I use either a whole chicken or chicken parts or just legs and thighs if I’m making my own chicken broth. I cook the chicken with onion, carrots, celery, a few peppercorns and a little sea salt. When it is falling off the bone, I pick the meat off and strain the broth. Typically I cook the chicken and make the broth the day before and then refrigerate it. The next day I skim off the chicken fat that thickens on top of the broth. Often my soup has a lot more chicken meat than needed so I think for this recipe 2 -3 cups of shredded chicken is plenty. Sometimes I use canned organic chicken broth and prepare the shredded meat before I start the soup.
In my original recipe I used green bell pepper instead of poblanos which tend to be hotter although they vary in hotness. Since I prefer their taste and more heat I switched to them. I often buy peppers and chop them up and freeze them for when I make soups and chilis. I used home canned tomatoes until I run out, then canned ones from the store.
Originally I used a small jar of Pace Chipotle Salsa but it is no longer available so I substitute any other brand of chipotle salsa or sauce that I find or a jar of Medium or Hot Mexican salsa/sauce and I add some chopped up canned chipotles in adobo sauce (see picture) that can be found in the Mexican food section of many grocery stores. Adjust the amount needed because it depends on how much heat you want to add. I recommend starting with 2 t and add more until it suits your tastes. The chipotles are what really adds heat to this soup. I chop them up with scissors as fine as possible and add however much I want leaving the seeds in them. To add less heat the seeds need to be removed. Cayenne pepper adds a different kind of heat so adjust the amount to suit yourself.
Rinsing the beans reduces their sodium content and some of the additives. I prefer the beans listed, in the recipe but any beans may be added. Notice that I do not add salt to my soup except when I make the broth as I think it gets enough from tomatoes, canned broth and beans as well as chips that are added. Adjust salt to your own taste preferences.
I used red or blue chips (picture above) but if you cannot find them. plain ones will work too. Or buy corn tortillas and cut them into strips and brush them lightly with olive oil season them with chili powder (optional) and put them on a grill pan until they lightly browned and then turn to lightly brown on the other side.