Chicken Soup: Easy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

Easy Tortilla Soup Caldo Maiz Avocado

This time of year my brown skin gets pasty. Shorter days, I’m outside less and bundled up in layers. I usually escape the winter blues on a beach in Mexico. The last few years it’s been in the Yucatan, mostly around Playa del Carmen.

Four to five lazy days at the beach is some serious R&R with no full agenda. We only take in two or three cultural or historical sites like Chitchen Itza (inland Mayan ruins), Tulum (the beachside ruins) or Coba (more ruins in a jungle setting) because the purpose of these trips is soaking in the natural beauty and chillin’ – sleeping in, long walks along the beach, and swimming/dipping in pristine waters.

During the day, when the sun is blazing we grub on fish tacos or ceviche and swig down a few cold cervezas. Once the sun has set and the coastal winds pick up,  hot soup is more inviting. A bowl of chicken tortilla soup is the perfect appetizer or main course for a soup lover like me.

Over the years, I’ve eaten so many versions of tortilla soup I can’t count. Some had cream, others were thick, and some were so skimpy it was more like consume.

I made this chicken tortilla soup the other night needing some comfort food after a long day at the gig and a single-digit day in Denver. Since I’ve been hobbling about in this medical boot, I come home tired and famished, craving something to assuage the hunger and physical discomfort.

This is one of the best tortilla soups I’ve had. My husband says it’s moved to his list of favorites – it’s that good. It’s easy to make and layered with flavor. This is a smoky version that does not require roasting or dry toasting chiles  – only a little jalapeno and chipotle – staples in my kitchen.

Whether you’re at the beach, in the mountains or in the city, I encourage you to try this one. As for me, I doubt I’ll get to beach it this winter, but, at least I have a damn good bowl of tortilla soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 4 to 6

To save time you can shred some roasted chicken in lieu of starting with raw and use tortilla chips instead of frying up your own.

Ingredients

2 large chicken breasts, cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces, seasoned generously with salt and pepper

2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola)

1/2 small onion, diced small

1 jalapeno, deveined and diced small

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin, divided

1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo sauce (mashed into paste)

1 (15 oz.) can diced/stewed tomatoes, pureed

8 cups chicken stock

2 cups corn

2 limes, juiced

8 white corn tortillas (4 diced small – for soup; 4 cut into 1/4 inch strips – for fried strips)

Avocado, sliced

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Method

  1. Cut chicken breasts into large pieces (2 to 3 inch pieces, about the same thickness) and season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add the diced onion and jalapeno. Saute for two minutes. Add the chicken pieces; lightly brown on both sides. Stir in the garlic and cumin for about 1 minute. Add the chipotle sauce, tomatoes (pureed), chicken stock, corn, lime juice and 4 tortillas (diced). Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes until chicken is cooked.
  3. Remove chicken with tongs and shred with a fork. Set aside. (2 large chicken breasts make about 3 cups shredded chicken). Return to pot and heat throughout. Adjust seasoning.
  4. Serve hot garnished with avocado, fresh cilantro and tortilla strips/chips.

Tortilla Strips

Cut 4 corn tortillas into ¼ inch strips (3 inches long). Heat small saucepan or skillet with deep sides with ½ inch vegetable or canola oil. When oil is hot, fry strips until golden and remove with tongs. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Variations

Toppings:   cheese, sour cream (crema)

Vegetables:  Mexican calabacitas (zucchini), nopales, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.

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17 Responses to Chicken Soup: Easy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. Susan says:

    LOVE tortilla soup! This one’s going on my list for sure.

  2. I’ve printed this one out. My husband loves, I mean LOVES, torilla soup. Just FYI tho’, Tulum is the seaside Mayan site. Chichen Itza is inland. – Claire @ http://www.culinary-colorado.com

    Fork Fingers Chopsticks: @Claire – You are correct Tulum is beachside. I’ve been to both Tulum and Coba and meaning to go to Chichen Itza, it’s so hard to get me away from that beach though.

  3. Karen Harris says:

    I love tortilla soup as well and like you I have eaten many versions, but this looks like one of the best I’ve seen. We probably all need to make sure we have these ingredients on hand with the cold weather returning next week.

  4. Lea Ann says:

    Beautiful soup Andrea. I agree, I’ve had so many versions of tortilla soup and love them all. Our forecast of below zero temps has me thumbing through my soup recipes. yikes.

  5. @Karen @Lea Ann: I’m starting to shiver at just the thought of those dastardly low temps again. Soups on again at my house. Stay warm this week. – Andrea

  6. Mary martinez says:

    looks great I love home- made soups, thanks for the recipe, Andrea

  7. Lana says:

    Oh, you have me swimming in memories of our trip to Yucatan last spring break:) I loved the country, the people, and the food. I really want to go back.
    We did not spend any time on the beach, just went to the ruins. We spent 3 days in Valladolid, and took tips from there. Beautiful!
    I had sopa de lima, but no tortilla soup while there. But soup I make is very similar to yours, and it divine:)
    If I could, I’d send you some California sunshine, but today we had only gray skies and rain.

  8. sippitysup says:

    Easy soups make cool weather more fun! Of course complicated soups do too! Soup rules. GREG

  9. Gorgeous soup and sounds pretty easy. You’re making me want to go back to the Yucatan! Of those three sites, you definitely have to go to Chichen Itza—the granddaddy of all the ones in the Yucatan. Funny Lana mentioned Valledolid. I stayed there one night and thought it so charming (the tiniest little town), I thought I’d go back there one day and hide out without telling anyone (except now I’ve just given myself away). : )

  10. Sara says:

    Tortilla soup is one of my favorites. It must be the avocado or the adobo sauce or the jalapenos. Oh, maybe it’s all of it.

    I’m ready for lunch now!

  11. Mary says:

    Reading about Mexico and envisioning those fabulous beaches and bluest ocean only makes the pain of this weather that much more intense. :)

    I’ve been craving tortilla soup like crazy recently–yours looks fabulous! Thanks for saying hi…always love to hear from people.

    Cheers.

  12. kirby says:

    the warm sand, sunshine, crashing waves, soft breeze are all manifest in this soup. just delightful! you keep coming up w/such tasty dishes.

  13. Lovely classic soup…always wonderful for colder weather :)

  14. I love chicken tortilla soup. I’ve never added a chipotle to the soup and will try it next time I make it. That should add a nice smokey flavor to it. Sometimes I use thigh meat instead of breast meat because my family enjoys the dark meat more. Such a yummy soup for our cold winters:)

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  16. just click the next post…

    Easy Mexican Tortilla Soup | Fork Fingers Chopsticks…

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