November 6, 2012

Tortilla Soup

Today is for voting!! And I will be voting for the first time in my life. Up until this year, I just haven't had the energy and motivation to keep up with the elections, and I don't feel comfortable just randomly picking someone, so this year I have finally paid attention to issues, debates, etc, to make a decision. No, I won't tell you who, because honestly?? I hate politics. I hate how people get so angry and hateful about elections, including the candidates!! Why can't we have polite, civil campaign ads? Why not just talk about what you will do, instead of how awful the other guy is? That applies to ALL parties, I don't care who you're supporting. Anyway, enough politics :)

Let's move on, to yummy soup!! Now, I know some of you will see that chipotle pepper, and that jalapeno, and be afraid of the heat of this soup. I promise it isn't very hot!! And if you really really can't handle heat, then just skip the jalapeno altogether. It'll be fine :) (Oh, and if you like heat, add the whole jalapeno!)

Tortilla Soup
Printable Recipe

1-1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
8-10 cups chicken broth
1 very large white onion, quartered
4 large cloves garlic
8-10 stems of fresh cilantro
1 can diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded)
half of a fresh jalapeno pepper
1 chipotle pepper
1 Tb adobo sauce, from chipotle peppers
1-2 cans black or pinto beans
1 can corn (optional)

cotija cheese (usually packed in a round, it is a crumbly, salty cheese that's a bit odd when eaten on it's own, but is essential for topping this soup!
crispy tortilla strips

In a large pot, pour 8 cups of chicken broth. Add the chicken, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and the cilantro. Bring to a boil, then lower to a bubbling simmer for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove the chicken, set on a plate to cool. Strain the broth, discard the onion, garlic, and cilantro, and save the broth.

In a blender or food processor, combine the other two onion quarters and garlic cloves, tomatoes, the chipotle pepper and adobo, and the jalapeno. *Notes: Chipotle peppers usually come in a small can, packed together with smoky adobo sauce. Do not use the whole can!! Pick out ONE pepper. You can freeze the rest for other things. Try and get at least a Tb of the adobo sauce out too. Also, don't be afraid of the jalapeno, as long as you remove the white insides where the seeds are, it really doesn't add much heat at all.

Blend until smooth. Heat 1 Tb olive oil in the large pot on medium high heat. When it is heated, add the tomato mixture and 1/2 tsp salt. (If you are picky about seeds, like me, you can pour and scrape this through a wire strainer to remove any tomato seeds, but it is not necessary) Cook and stir occasionally for 10 minutes, or until thickened and darkened. While you're waiting, shred that chicken.

Pour the reserved broth into the tomato mixture (adding a few cups if necessary , and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. Taste, and add any additional salt. Add chicken, beans (drained or not, up to you!) and corn (if using). Heat through, and serve, with fresh lime quarters to squeeze over, tortilla strips, and crumbled cotija cheese.

This is The Geologist's favorite soup, and now the boys love it too!! I am always amazed at the deep, bright flavors. You would think raw onion and garlic would make it SO sharp, but it really mellows out! The cheese doesn't melt, but it softens and adds creamy-salty-ness. Yum. 
The lime is essential. My lime is drowning... That tang is the perfect accent to those savory, just-warm-enough spices and tomatoes.  We like ours simple, so we skip the tortilla strips and corn, but you could dress this up all kinds of ways! Top with sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, a spoonful of sour cream... however you like it!
It may not be fancy, but is delicious, and will warm you right down to your toes! We haven't met anyone yet who doesn't like it :)


  1. this soup sounds great!! very yummy. hoping it will cool down here in CA soon so i can make soups

  2. Oh my goodness it's like we're the same person. Today was my first time voting too! I never did before FOR THE EXACT SAME REASONS! I was really glad I voted and I'll always vote from now on. You're so right about the hate, though. I'm on my Google Reader and people are just dumping and it's crazy! Our generation just wants to be heard, but who is going to listen when we're so mean about it?

  3. Love, Love, LOVING it April! Love also that you told me about the cheese. We can't get that here, but knowing what it's like can help me to find a suitable substitute, or at least try. I am with you on the election thing. I am afraid that I don't exactly understand the American political process . . . I was disappointed on how it turned out, but I really hate the mud slinging that goes on in the run up to it. I just want to crack their heads together and say play nice! xxoo

  4. April,thank you for joining in the fiesta fun on Carole's Chatter. I have been doing a little happy dance reading all the great Mexican inspired ideas. Cheers


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