Monday, February 8, 2010

Chicken tortilla soup

One of my best friends has been raving about this soup for over a year. And when she finally made it for me, I had to agree. It's good. VERY good. I'm pretty sure the recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated,  and though the original calls for turkey, I've made it twice now using a rotisserie chicken and can I just say, yum!

Here's what you need to get started (don't be daunted by the long list of ingredients, the soup comes together quickly and is very easy to make):

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
3 six inch corn tortillas cut into 1" pieces
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
4 cups of chicken broth (I used about 6 cups as I felt the soup base was too thick otherwise)
1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander and dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
2 cups of cooked and shredded chicken or turkey (I used a whole rotisserie chicken which came to more than 2 cups, but I definitely think the soup is better with more meat rather than less)
1 1/2 cups of frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
salt and pepper

sour cream and chopped green onions to garnish

Heat the oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium high heat, add the onions and garlic and saute about 3 minutes. Stir in the tortilla pieces and saute until they are no longer crisp. Add tomatoes, broth and spices and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes, then puree using an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender or food processor until you have a smooth creamy base.

Return the pot to the stove and add the chicken, corn and cream. Bring to a boil.

Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the soup begins to thicken. (I've let it sit on a low flame for an hour or so before moving on to the next step.)

Raise the heat a bit and sprinkle in the cheese, stirring until it melts. Add the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. 

I've served this with a loaf of crusty bread, or if I'm feeling very ambitious, with quesadillas. My son, happy to eat a quesadilla or a loaf of bread, won't even try the soup, but the rest of us? We love it.


  1. This is the one you linked to on Twitter after Thanksgiving, yes? It is INCREDIBLE. Our favorite non-matzoh-ball soup by far!

  2. Yes, I made it then, too, and it was wonderful! Been planning to make it again this month so thanks for putting it up here. YUM!

  3. I love this soup! I almost volunteered to do a guest post on it...your photos are beautiful Kristen!

    I make this soup weekly throughout the winter...I bring it for potluck get togethers too! As an aside...I have substituted whole wheat tortillas for corn tortillas, light cream for the heavy cream, low fat shredded cheese and low fat sour cream...and there was no sacrifice on the flavor!

    I use the Braun hand mixer (the stick looking thing -- or as Kristen more eloquently calls it... an immersion blender)... you just put it right into the pot and puree...much easier than the blender or food processor... it is one of my favorite cooking tools! I think Emeril calls it the boat motor...

    Start to finish this soup is done in under an hour, doubles easily and is a crowd pleaser!

  4. My only word on the tortillas (and I think goodfountain or niksmom will have to set me straight if I'm wrong) is that the corn tortillas render the entire soup gluten free. Not sure what to say about all that yummy cheese and cream, so we're definitely not dairy-free here. So, anyway, something to consider if you are, like many of our readers (and blog contributors) trying to keep a GF diet. But otherwise, yes, I've had JB's version and honestly, it tastes better than mine (I do love it when someone else does the cooking once in a while!).

  5. Yeah, we'd skip the sour cream and cheese to make it dairy free too. I can't do corn either so I would skip the tortillas altogether. I have some rice tortillas but I don't think they lend themselves well to this soup. I may get ambitious and try.

    For dairy free folks who can handle soy, there are lots of sour cream and cheese alternatives.

  6. Did you know chicken tortilla soup is my favorite soup? Did you know that cheesey chicken tortilla soup is my favorite kinda chicken tortilla soup?

    Since C is the only one who HAS to be dairy-free, and she refuses to eat soup anyway, I will be making this and soon. I'm kinda craving soup right now.

    Niksmom, I can link you to a great crockpot chicken tortilla soup if you're interested. :)

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  8. @goodfountain Sure! Can it be made GF, corn free? I'd be ok with the dairy once in a while. Not so for Nik. :-(