Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is Ali’s all-time favorite soup, and it’s delicious! This was the first dish she cooked for date night. Tortilla soup is fortified with spices and herbs. It is also thickened with tortillas, which is a great technique to know. Techniques for soup thickening vary from roux, to rice, to this technique of using tortillas. Still other soups are thickened with bread or potato, but the tortillas give it a full mouthfeel. It’s a great cooking lesson that yields a delicious dish.
- 1 cup (160 g) diced yellow or white onion
- 1 cup (120 g) diced carrot
- 1 cup (100 g) diced celery
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, more if needed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste 2 corn tortillas
- 4 cups (960 ml) chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
- 1 cup (140 g) shredded roasted chicken breast
- 2–3 tbsp (30–45 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 cup (20 g) chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced, for garnish
- 1 cup (120 g) shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese, for garnish
- 3 corn tortillas, thinly sliced and deep-fried
- 1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, sweat the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft.
Add the garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin and black pepper. Stir for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the dry ingredients. Add more oil if needed.
Add the chicken stock and salt, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
Toast the tortillas over a burner flame until slightly charred. Tear into pieces and place in a blender jar, then ladle in about 11⁄2 cups (355 ml) of the hot soup from the pot. Carefully blend un l smooth and return to the soup pot.
Add the roasted chicken to the soup and let simmer for 5 more minutes.
Just before serving, add the lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve topped with lots of chopped avocado, shredded cheese, fried tortilla strips and lime wedges.
If you want to add more spice, 2 to 4 sliced serrano chiles blended with the tortillas will do the trick.
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Reprinted with permission from 101 Epic Dishes by Jet Tila and Ali Tila, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Ken Goodman