Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

My inspiration for making soup is often a convergence of too many vegetables in the refrigerator with homemade stock and leftovers from a roast chicken. This recipe is not an authentic tortilla soup, as I managed to empty most of the contents of my veggie drawer into it. It's chock-a-block full of corn, beans, zucchini and peppers, simmered with a few must-have aromatics (onion and garlic) and pantry staples (canned Italian plum tomatoes and black beans).

I spiced up the stock with warming Southwestern spices in defiance of the dreary drizzle outside, and finished the soup with a shower of shattered tortilla chips, which happened to be leftover remnants in the bottom of the bag -- too small for swiping through a bowl of salsa. Leftovers never tasted so good.

If you don't have leftover chicken on hand, a store-bought rotisserie chicken and packaged stock will do the trick. Season and spice the soup to your taste. Ideally it should have a little heat, but since our family is divided on what constitutes "spicy," I pass a bottle of hot sauce around the table so everyone can fire up the soup to their taste. This soup is meant to be thick. More chicken stock may be added for a soupier consistency.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded, diced

1 sweet red pepper, stemmed and seeded, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 cups chicken stock

1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, with juice

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 pound shredded cooked chicken

1 cup fresh corn kernels

1 cup cooked black beans

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Tortilla chips, broken in pieces, for garnish

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and zucchini and saute briefly, about 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock, plum tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne and cloves. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

Stir in the chicken, corn and beans. Simmer, partially covered, until thoroughly heated through. Taste for seasoning.

Stir in the cilantro leaves and serve warm, garnished with the tortilla chips.


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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