Chicken Tortilla Soup will warm you up with tender chicken, lots of veggies, and a bold kick from the spices. Ready in under 30 minutes on the stovetop, or perfect in the slow cooker after a long day at work.
This is a sponsored post, and the recipe was featured in the October, 2017 issue of Stillwater Living Magazine.
When I moved from Maryland to Oklahoma in 2007, I experienced a lot of culture shock in my first few months…much smaller town, slower drivers, southern accents, and the seasons of the year. In Maryland, it’s unusual to not be wearing hoodies and boots by early October. In Oklahoma, I’m often still wearing short sleeved shirts in early November. This year has been a little different, as we’ve had an early taste of Fall in September. I love those mornings with just a slight chill in the air, when I can enjoy a cup of coffee and read the paper on my patio on a Sunday morning, and in the warm afternoons enjoy an outdoor happy hour with friends.
I also love Fall because that means it’s football season. For me, football season is my busiest time of the year at work; August is by far the worst, but I’m still very busy through November. But college football is my favorite sport, and the NFL isn’t too far behind. At Maryland we had a lot of great tailgates; I love when I get to go back, because I’m there strictly as a fan and can tailgate all day if I want. At OSU any tailgating I get to do is after the game, but I still take advantage when I can. When OSU plays on the road, my friends and I get together and watch football all afternoon. That’s a pretty perfect day for me.
For many people, especially families with kids, summer means long lazy days. That all changes once kids are back in school. Homework, sports, lessons, and everything else that goes along with it means that there’s less time for relaxation. That also means you need dinner on the table quickly after a long day. Sure it’s easy to stop at a drive-through, or rely on frozen meals, but those aren’t usually the healthiest options.
I do think that most people prefer a homemade meal. Some may not think they have the time, and others may think that it’s difficult. But in reality, you can have so many home-cooked meals on the table within 30 minutes. Soup is one of those meals, and what I love about soup is its versatility. As much as I love soup, I never made it myself until about 2 years ago. For some reason I thought it was difficult to make. Then one day I came across a really delicious-looking soup from a fellow blogger, and decided to give it a shot. One bite of Thai Shrimp Soup proved my fear totally unfounded. I made one other fabulous Sausage & Penne Soup, but that was it…until now.
I rarely order Chicken Tortilla Soup at Mexican restaurants, but I tried one at El Mexicano in Perkins, and immediately fell in love. I’ve had it as an appetizer, and as my meal. So when I was recently looking for an easy Fall meal for a busy lifestyle, I knew that Chicken Tortilla Soup would be a perfect solution.
This Chicken Tortilla Soup is so delicious. Bold flavors, beautiful colors, hearty, and filling all in one. Not only that, it’s so easy to make. Some soups do better on the stovetop, while many others will work either on the stovetop or in the crock pot. I cook my Chicken Tortilla Soup on the stovetop but, with just a few changes, it will cook beautifully in the crock pot. On the stove, Chicken Tortilla Soup will be on the table within 30 minutes.
KEY INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
- Chicken: I use rotisserie chicken, and use the dark meat pieces. I also add in the bones for extra flavor (in a piece of cheesecloth), and pull them out before serving. If cooking in a crock pot, use frozen chicken
- Spices: I add fresh jalapeno and a little bit of cayenne pepper into the soup, and sweat the jalapeno early with the onions. If you don’t like a lot of spice, you can eliminate one or both, or just reduce the amount you use. With the jalapeno, remember that the seeds hold all the heat…so make sure you remove the seeds first!
- Broth: most Chicken Tortilla Soup recipes call for store-bought chicken broth. I use homemade vegetable broth, because it has a greater depth of flavor. If you do go the store-bought route, use low sodium chicken broth.
- Garlic: many recipes call for raw garlic, but I use as combination of raw and roasted. Roasted garlic has such an amazing flavor, and adds another layer of depth to any dish
- Tomatoes: I use fire-roasted, petit-diced tomatoes. You can use any canned tomato, but if you use whole tomatoes you will need to cut them. So, since you’re buying the can, you might as well save yourself as many steps as possible
- Corn: I use frozen corn, but if you have fresh that would be perfect
TOPPINGS FOR CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
I made my own tortilla strips for this Chicken Tortilla Soup! I had no idea they are so incredibly simple to make. Or how easy they are to burn. I put a batch into the oven, and about 10 minutes later pulled out completely burnt strips. I checked the second batch after about 7 minutes and they were better, but still not great. The third batch I cooked for about 6 minutes, and got it almost perfect. So it’s a good thing I bought a large bag of tortillas.
I love avocado, and add it into as many dishes as I can. So of course they are a perfect accompaniment to the Chicken Tortilla Soup. They add a wonderful creamy texture, and help to tone down the spice.
I always add cheese to my Chicken Tortilla Soup. I don’t usually have Mexican shredded cheese on hand, but a sharp Cheddar does the trick.
Sour cream is completely optional. With the jalapeno and cayenne–and I think I double-poured my cayenne–I needed the sour cream.
Chicken Tortilla Soup is definitely on my regular meal plan, especially in the Fall and Winter. My stovetop version is on the table within 30 minutes, you can make it as spicy or as mild as you want, and you can add your choice of toppings. You definitely can’t beat that on a weekday or a weekend.
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- 8 corn tortillas
- 1/2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
- sea salt
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced small
- 1 large jalapeno pepper, diced small
- 2 cloves raw garlic, minced
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, minced
- 4 cups homemade vegetable broth or low sodium chicken broth
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes and juice
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded (I use all dark meat)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- diced avocado
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
Preheat oven to 375F, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
Loosely scatter the tortilla strips, evenly drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, toss with hands to coat evenly
Bake for until crisp and lightly golden brown; set aside. Strips will burn easily, so check them after about 7 minutes. Depending on how many strips you make, it will take 7-12 minutes to get golden brown
To a large stockpot or Dutch Oven, add 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm.
Add the onion, jalapeno, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften.
Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
OPTIONAL: Place chicken bones in a piece of cheesecloth, and tie closed with string. The bones will add even more flavor to the soup.
Add the chicken, bones, broth, tomatoes and juice, black beans, corn, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, smoked paprika, optional cayenne pepper
Bring to a boil. Allow mixture to boil gently for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the cilantro and boil 1 minute.
Taste soup. You will probably not need to add any salt, but if so, add sparingly. Soup can get very salty very quickly. Once it’s in there, you can’t take it out.
Remove cheesecloth with chicken bones
Add a little more fresh lime juice, and fresh cilantro
Ladle soup into bowls, top with tortilla strips, avocado, cheese and sour cream
NOTE: Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.