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The first time I tasted tortilla soup was at my daughter’s home, and her kids said this was one of their favorite things for dinner. It was a little spicy but so, so good. And, as it turns out, so, SO easy. The original recipe from Epicurious required frying the corn tortillas rather than buying the chips, using and dicing fresh tomatoes rather than canned, and hunting down and finding all types of peppers.
Rachel is like me. She cooks fast and mean and comes out with food lickity split that is always delicious. These are some notes from our texts when I asked for the recipe:
“Here’s the recipe with my changes – bottom line is I make it without requiring complicated grocery runs. It’s hard to find these chilis here, for example, or they only come in large quantities and then sit around in pantry for months after. Onion type has varied depending on what’s on hand as well. First time I made my own tortilla chips as per original recipe. Unnecessary. Didn’t measure chips second time through, just cook and puree with an immersion blender until the texture/thickness I like.”
A note of my own: You will want an immersion blender for this! That way nothing has to be cut small.
Tortilla Soup with Crisp Tortillas and Avocado Relish
Makes about 9-10 cups
Tortilla Soup Ingredients
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 white onion (or red or brown if that is all you have)
- 28 oz can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes
- 6 peeled, coarsely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper seeded and coarse diced
- 2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (I always keep these in my refrigerator in a jar and use them when I need them, they keep a looooong time. I didn’t even bother to chop them.)
- 15-ounce bag white corn tortilla chips with salt. Get cheap ones and save about 3 cups for serving.
- 4 cups chicken stock (Better Than Bouillon is my go to)
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled (if you have it-I did not use it)
- 1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
Avocado Relish Ingredients
- 2-3 ripe California avocados
- 2 small vine-ripened tomato
- 2/3 cup finely chopped white or red onion (about 1/2 onion)
- 1 to 2 fresh serrano chilies chili of preference or hot sauce (I used zero extra spice and did not add peppers to the relish since the soup is pretty spicy)
- Lots of chopped fresh cilantro, at least a half bunch
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
You can use store bought roasted chicken or roast chicken breasts or roast chicken thighs. I happened to have a package of raw boneless skinless thighs that I put in the soup to cook along with everything else. Once cooked, and before pureeing, I took the pieces of chicken out and shredded the meat. Turns out this chicken flavored the soup nicely and the method was easy and quick. The dark meat is never dry.
Heat oil in a large heavy soup pot. Coarsely chop onion. Sauté salt, garlic & onion until soft. Add can of tomatoes, roughly diced jalapeño and cook a bit and add 4 cups chicken broth. At this point I added the raw chicken thighs and let them simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the remaining 4 cups of water. When hot throughout and the thighs are cooked, remove the chicken pieces from the soup and set aside Add handfuls of tortilla chips – crush them in your fingers as an add in*. When the pieces of tortilla chips have softened turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend everything into a puree. The thickness of soup should be to your preference. The chips serve as a thickening agent. If necessary add more salt or pepper. It turns out I used most of the 15-ounce bag of chips but reserved about 3 cups to serve with the soup. Shred the chicken meat and add it back to the soup pot after you puree everything else.
* Whatever tortilla chips you didn’t use for the soup, crush up and sprinkle on the soup when you serve it!
Make relish while soup is simmering:
Halve avocados, remove pits and cube flesh (recipe says 1/4-inch dice) and finely chop tomato. If using chilis, finely chopped and add to avocados and tomatoes. Also finely chop 1/2 onion (white or red). Finely chop a ton of cilantro. In a bowl gently stir together avocados, tomato, onion, chilies, and remaining relish ingredients until combined well. I added extra lime. Salt to taste. Don’t make the relish until right before serving the soup or it gets too mushy from the lime juice.
Pour soup in each bowl, making sure to include chicken. Add a scoop of avocado relish, crumple up a small handful of chips on top (hearty!). Serve with lime wedges, a salad and sweet corn as a side. Also put lime wedges, hot sauce, salt and pepper on the table.
Rachel wrote that this is embarrassingly easy, but I love embarrassingly easy!