Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

For those of you who don't live here in Chicago, I'm going to let you in on a little secret... it's cold here. As in, 6 degrees with a wind chill factor below zero. My AZ/CA blood is doing surprisingly well, but I'm getting a little sick of this winter thing, and hoping it goes away soon.

The culinary aspect of this weather is that I'm all about making comfort foods. Casseroles and pastas and soups and stews and things that are generally warm. Of course, comfort food is often equated with fat-filled butter and cheese. And while there's nothing wrong with that, I'm trying to not do that every night. Especially because the cold is also keeping me from running at the moment. And I'd rather not balloon into two of me.

This recipe was a great antidote to the cold without being high on the fat and calories that so much comfort food brings. I love tortilla soup, and I made this one out of an amalgamation of other recipes I found online. The only change from the pictures to the recipe is that there is no cilantro in the pictures. You should definitely eat this soup with cilantro, but Jewel didn't have any, and I wasn't going to schlep to another grocery store just for cilantro. In 50 degrees, maybe, in 0, no. So, pretend like there are pretty little green leafy things all over the top of the soup, and all will be well.

Enjoy this with a big fluffy blanket and/or a warm kitty on your feet and you'll be quite ready to withstand the elements. From inside your home, at least.

The soup itself, with all its yummy bits of chicken and onion and tomato

The finished product, topped with chips and cheese and avocado

If only there had been leftovers...

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Total cooking time: 1 hr

5 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
2 limes
2 T olive oil
2 white onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained (I used the ones with onions in them, just for fun)
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
1 1/2 t oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 qt good chicken stock
1 avocado, sliced or diced
1/2 c shredded cheese of your choice
Crushed tortilla chips

1. Fill a dutch oven about halfway with salted water and boil
2. Add the chicken thighs and boil until they float or until their juices run clear
3. Using two forks, remove the chicken from the bones and shred
4. Put the chicken meat on a plate and add salt and pepper and the juice of 1 lime to cover the meat, then cover with foil and let sit till later
5. In the rinsed dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat
6. Add the onions, garlic, serranos, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, till vegetables are soft (about 15 minutes)
7. Add the chicken stock (getting good stock is key here, spend the extra 2 dollars, it's worth it) and the juice of a half of lime in (about 1 T)
8. Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a boil
9. Once boiled, add the chicken back into the bot, turn the heat to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes
10. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with avocado, cheese, chips, cilantro, and a wedge of lime



  1. Ooooh! *stomach growling in agony* That sounds so good. Why am I so hungry all of a sudden, and so early in the day??

  2. yummmmmmmmmmmmm... I wish I had all the ingredients on hand RIGHT NOW! Though I guess today's 20's aren't too bad for a trip to the store, considering what this week has thrown at us.

  3. I can see why you didn't get the cilantro. You're a braver person than I am to live in weather like that! This looks delicious and I need some soup asap.