Friday, June 19, 2009

Tortilla Soup

I've heard there are as many recipes for tortilla soup as there are cooks who make it. That's because tortilla soup is so variable, and everyone should feel free to vary it to make it match their own taste. Here's my version. Please, feel free to change it up to whatever tastes best to you!


1 tsp. olive oil
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1 14.5 oz. can mexican style tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 4 oz. can diced green chilis
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp - 1 tbs chili powder
1 quart chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce (like Tabasco) to taste

4 corn tortillas, cut into strips
1 cup Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, diced


Preheat oven to 400F. Heat the oil in a large cooking pot. Add the chicken, and cook until almost done. Add the tomatoes through chicken stock to the pot and simmer everything for 15 to 20 minutes. While the soup simmers, cut the tortillas into strips. Put tortilla strips onto a baking pan and bake until crisp. Depending on the tortillas, they should crisp up in about 10 minutes, so check them about 8 minutes after putting them in the oven, then check every 2 or 3 minutes until done.

Taste soup, adding salt, pepper, and hot sauce as needed. Ladle into bowls. Top with tortilla strips, cheese, cilantro, and avocado.

Serves 4 - 6.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Who doesn't love chips? Topping this soup with tortilla chips gives it an appeal to some picky eaters. Heat this soup up or tone it down depending on how hot you like it. Also, chop vegetables all the same size. This makes them cook evenly, and also makes them indistinguishable to those who might not like some of them. For example, I chop the red peppers the same size as the tomatoes. I have one person who doesn't like tomatoes and another who doesn't like red peppers. Neither one seems to have figured out what the red things are in this soup - and they like the taste so much that they forget that something they don't like may be lurking somewhere in there!

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