Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chicken Soup for Soul-sa

In my humble opinion, soup is food's way of hugging you. Whether your dog knocks the kitchen garbage all over the floor, or your kids throw a tantrum over who's turn it is to have the horse sippy cup, or you're cold and tired and feeling flu-ish, soup sits in its bowl, warm and soothing, ready to say, "Hey, it's all going to be ok."  With a few spoonfuls, the warmth overtakes you, and life just seems better.

Of course, that doesn't mean your soup can't have an attitude, as in the case of Mexican Tortilla Soup. A little bit of spice can put an extra zip in your step - or an extra squeeze in that hug. So with the cooler temps this week, I'm ready to be swallowed by the love of some spicy and smooth loveliness.

Now, you totally can make the soup from scratch--like, simmer the chicken in water with veggies to make the stock and then shred the chicken. Yadda yadda yadda.  But sometimes I'm too tired and in need of that hug asap and I just want a shortcut.  On days like that - this this recipe hits the spot!

Chicken Tortilla Soup for Soul


- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped
- 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced*
- 1 28-oz carton chicken stock
- 5 corn tortillas, toasted lightly in a dry pan and then ripped into pieces
- 1/2 rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- various toppings (eg, shredded cheddar, diced onion, cilantro, sour cream, salsa)

* Jalapeno gives this dish a nice kick. Want it super hot?  Leave the seeds in.  Want it super mellow? Use half a jalapeno and be sure to remove the veins and the seeds.  Want it super-easy?  Buy a can of diced tomato with diced jalapenos; you can't control the heat level, but all the work is done for you.


Add olive oil to large, deep pan or pot over medium high heat.  Add onions and saute until soft/translucent.  If you are using a jalapeno, add it now. Add cumin, oregano and a dash of salt and pepper.  

Then add garlic, and saute for another a minute. 

Dump in the can of tomatoes--juices and all. Add the chicken stock, increase temp to high and bring to a boil. 

Reduce the heat (to medium low) and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, get all your toppings together, make a nice margarita, pour a beer... enjoy the lovely aromas.

After your simmer time, turn the temp down to low, and then throw in the tortillas. Carefully, using a hand-held blender (aka "boat motor), process the soup until smooth.  Taste for seasonings and adjust salt/pepper as needed.

Add shredded chicken and cilantro, bump the heat back to medium, and let the flavors marry for about five to 10 minutes.

Ladle into bowl or mug, add your favorite toppings and get ready for a big ol' hug of spicy love!

Want to be super fancy? Fry a few corn tortillas, sprinkle with salt, and cut into strips. Throw those on top for garnishy-crunchy-yumminess.


  1. This looks wonderful! Totally making it. Long live spicy! I've got my "examination" gloves for the jalepenos at the ready!

  2. Thanks, Amy! Totally hits the spot on a cold day. Or any day, for that matter!