Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I know we've all seen these books by Jack Canfield. In fact, there are some titles you may have never heard of, such as: Chicken Soup for the Soul: NASCAR, Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul (forward by Paula Abdul), and the beloved classic, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Menopause. Really? Well, no need to let your mascara run...make this instead: Chicken Tortilla Soup. This is a delicious, heartfelt soup made from the simplest of ingredients to create a truly soul-satisfying meal in a bowl.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 4


For the soup:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 chicken thighs (skin removed)
Kosher salt
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth, store-bought or homemade
12, 2-inch stems fresh cilantro (save the leaves for the garnish)
1 1/2 cup fresh tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, canned, or frozen-thawed)
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

For the garnish:
2 ripe avocados, diced and tossed with a squeeze of lime juice
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (this is the best if you can find it), feta, or ricotta salata cheese
4 dollops of sour cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges for serving

For the crispy tortilla strips: (If you're too lazy, you can buy them, but it's better to make them!)
6, 6-inch fresh corn tortillas
1/2-1 cup canola oil for frying


For the soup:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes.  Add the chili powder and tomato paste and stir with a wooden spoon to mix and cook briefly; take care not to let the chili powder scorch.

Season the chicken thighs lightly with salt and nestle them in the tomato-chili paste, turning them once so they're entirely coated.  Add about 1 cup of the broth and adjust the heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook the chicken, turning once, until it's extremely tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 40 minutes.  Add a little more broth if the pan starts to dry out. (It probably won't.)  When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan, let it cool a bit, and then cut or shred it into bite-size pieces, discarding the bones, bits of fat, or gristle.   Set the chicken aside.

If there is any visible grease in the pan, spoon it off, like so:

Add the remaining broth and the cilantro stems and stir. Simmer, uncovered, until the broth is reduced by about one third, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the tortilla strips.

For the crispy tortilla strips:
Cut the tortillas into 1/4-inch-wide strips.  Line a plate with paper towels.  In a small high-sided saucepan, heat about 1-inch of the oil over medium heat.  When it reaches 375 degrees, or when a strip of tortilla sizzles immediately when dipped in the oil, add 6 to 8 tortilla strips.  Fry until the strips aren't bubbling much and are pale brown, about 1 minute.  Using tongs, transfer to the paper towels to drain.  Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.

To serve:
Divide the shredded chicken, tomato, corn, and black beans into 4 large soup bowls. (I just add the chicken, tomato, corn, and black beans into the soup to make sure they are warm!)  Reheat the broth, if necessary, so it's piping hot and pour into each bowl. Garnish with the avocado, cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro, the crispy tortilla strips, and a lime wedge to squeeze over the soup at the table. This is chicken soup for the soul!

Adapted from Martha Holmberg's recipe from Fine Cooking.


  1. This is the BEST chicken tortilla soup I've ever had! It is super fresh and yummy! Will definitely make again!

  2. Awesome! Thanks for visiting my site!