Friday, January 7, 2011

Tangy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is one of those dishes that has as many variations as there are cooks.  Kimiko and I both make it but they are completely different.  Mine is a simple, brothy soup.  The key ingredient is lime juice which makes the broth tangy.  You can find lime juice in the produce section, but you might want to take a look in the juice aisle too.  The produce section usually has smaller containers.  The larger bottles of lime juice that you may be able to find in the juice aisle will cost less per ounce.

I usually make this with leftover chicken—any part will do.  I’ve used leftover sautéed chicken, Great Grandma’s baked chicken, and store-bought rotisserie chicken.

For this batch I used sauteed chicken breasts.
Of course it wouldn’t be tortilla soup without the tortilla chips.  I stay away from national brands (Mission, Tostido, etc.).  Most stores carry chips made by smaller companies.  If you don’t find them in the chip aisle, check the Mexican food aisle.  (Note:  I live in California where every grocery store has a Mexican food aisle.  I imagine that’s not the case in all states.)  My favorite is a brand called Juanitas, which is made in Hood River, Oregon.  They taste the most like homemade tortilla chips that I’ve ever eaten out of a bag.  Of course, you could always make homemade chips too.  I think that will have to be a future post.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 qts. water
3 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
12 oz. tomato paste
4 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
¼-½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¾ lb. frozen corn (approx. 2 1/2 cups)
½ c. lime juice
1½ c. chicken, chopped
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Tortilla chips
Sour cream
Avocado, diced

In a large pot, combine water, bouillon, tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about ½ hour.  Add corn, lime juice and chicken; heat through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and avocado.

One of my super duper tricks for cooling hot soup:  sometimes I leave the corn out and just put it in the bottom of the bowls before ladling the soup in.  The hot soup heats the corn, and the frozen corn cools the soup.  This is especially helpful when serving children.  I often add extra frozen vegetables to my kids’ soup and chili bowls to cool them down.

Place frozen corn in bottom of bowl and top with hot soup.

I like to serve chicken tortilla soup as a dinner soup with cornbread on the side.  You could also serve it as a side soup with taco salad.  Yum!

This soup is also freezable!!  Just freeze leftovers in usable portions, thaw, and re-heat when you need a quick lunch or dinner.


StaceyN said...

Sounds so good! I love tortilla soup but have never tried it with lime juice. Going to have to give that a try. My kiddos like foods with a tangy kick (actually they like ANY food they find on their plates, but especially foods that are sour-ish).

So funny you mentioned the Juanita’s chips. We just discovered those about 6 or 8 months ago, and now we can't bring ourselves to eat any other brand. We've become tortilla chip snobs! They taste just like they came out of the deep fryer at a Mexican restaurant! (OK, that totally sounded like a commercial, but so true). Have you noticed how much OIL there is in the bottom of the bag, though? That's why they taste so good. Dump enough fat on it, and ANYTHING will taste delicious LOL. Hmm, wonder why I’ve gained so much weight this pregnancy...

Definitely going to try out your soup. Thanks!

Sarah said...

Fun that you have access to Juanitas! My parents live in Oregon and distribute Tim's chips, a company which also distributes Juanitas now. I fell in love with them as soon as I tried then, but they don't sell them in So Cal yet. I also seemed to lose some of my addiction when I got pregnant this year, but I still like them! :)

Crystal Malek said...

I'm such a tortilla soup fan. So yummy on chilly nights. I never started making homemade chips until a couple of months ago, and oh my goodness they're good. So simple, but I probably eat way more than if we used bagged chips! I just slice up corn tortillas, then fry till crisp and top w/kosher salt. They're really addicting. I'll have to see if we have Juanitas here and try them!

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the recipe! I like to add a handful of chopped cilantro if I think of it. It adds to the tang /spiciness of it all. Thanks again for the recipe.

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