I remember where I get recipes the same way some people remember where they bought their clothes. A great recipe is like a best friend, so it’s fun to look back and remember the day you met.
I met this tortilla soup recipe on New Year’s Eve in 2004. I had graduated from a university with a decent reputation and was appalled to find myself in a dead end secretarial job. My boss was a jerk, which made things worse, and I was stuck in the office on New Year’s Eve with absolutely nothing to do but no permission to go home. I did what any good foodie would do – I whittled away the hours going through every recipe site I could find and printing off potential winners. This one from Cooking Light was one of those winners, and is probably the only good thing that came out of that job.
If you make this soup with vegetarian chicken broth (yes, such a thing exists ) and omit the chicken, then it’s completely vegetarian. I haven’t tried it with vegetable broth, but I’m sure it would be fine.
No matter which way you make it, I guarantee you’ll love it. I have doubled or tripled this and served it for baby showers and wedding showers. It’s a great make-ahead dish that people can tailor to their own tastes. But don’t wait for a special occasion! Just make a pot for dinner!
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 tbsp minced seeded jalapeno pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tbsp cumin
8 cups chicken broth
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about one pound)
1 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
First, prep those ingredients for the soup. This soup will be pureed at the end, so don’t worry too much about the size of the chunks.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1-inch tortilla pieces; cook 2 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic; saute 3 minutes.
Add tomato paste and tomatoes; bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.
Stir in cumin and broth. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until reduced to 8 cups.
At this point, if you’re not rushed for time, let your soup cool for a bit. It makes blending it so much easier if you do. Otherwise, the steam in the soup makes it “jump” out of your blender or food processor.
Puree soup using an immersion blender in small batches in your food processor. Return pureed soup to stove and cook over medium-low heat until thoroughly heated.
While the soup is reheating, prep your toppings. For the tortilla crisps, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place tortilla pieces on a sheet pan so that they are not overlapping. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until browned and crispy.
Ladle hot soup into bowls. Add the toppings and eat immediately!