Tortilla Soup (photo taken by hzaida)

Tortilla Soup (photo by hzaida)

I am going back to Cali, Cali, Cali.  I previously lived in San Diego, in the historic neighborhood of Old Town.  Every day I would smell fresh tortillas and refried beans being made.  A mouth-watering smell I will never get out of my head.  One day while sitting in my Old Town apartment I wanted to make Tortilla Soup and without a recipe I instinctively started throwing ingredients in a pot that I felt belonged in this light and healthy soup.  Over time and with a few adjustments I think this soup recipe has become quite the keeper.

I like to make a big batch and store for leftovers, the flavor only gets better with time.  If you are a small family you can always cut this recipe in half. 

Our first ingredient is chicken broth.  Start by pouring 64 ounces of chicken broth into a stock pot.  Turn the temperature to medium – medium high.  We will be adding ingredients to this broth as we move through this recipe.  First ingredients we will be adding is our seasoning.  Add 1 tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. paprika, 2 twists from your salt grinder and 4 twists from your pepper grinder.

Now let’s boil some chicken (bok, bok).  Using the appropriate pan/pot, add enough water to cover 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, bring to a boil then add your 2 breasts.  Boil for approximately 10 minutes or until completely cooked.  Sometimes to speed up this process, halfway through cooking I remove the breasts and cut in half.

While your chicken is boiling let’s add more ingredients to our broth.  Finely mince 2 garlic cloves, small dice ½ a yellow onion and finely mince ½ a jalapeno.  Add all ingredients to your boiling broth.  If you enjoy your food a little less spicy than this gal from Arizona simply remove the veins and seeds from your jalapeno pepper.  Remember these little guys pack a punch and it is recommended to wear gloves when handling.  If you are like me and refuse to wear gloves please do not touch your eyes or any other body part for that matter.  Oweeeee.

TortillaSoup (1 of 4)Your chicken should be cooked.  Remove, set aside and cool.  While your chicken is cooling, let’s make our tortilla strips.  Take 4 corn tortillas and cut into strips.  Using a large frying pan, heat enough canola oil to submerge your strips.  Working in batches start frying your strips.  When they are golden brown remove from oil and lay on a paper towel, to get rid of any excess oil.  Once all your strips have been fried, lightly season with salt and paprika.

TortillaSoup (2 of 4)The chicken breasts should be cool enough to handle now, so let’s start the tedious process of shredding the chicken.  I think this is the most time consuming part of this recipe.  Once you have shredded both breasts, lightly season with paprika.

We are now in the home stretch.  Let’s add our final ingredients to the boiling broth: shredded chicken, 1 can of drained corn and 1 cup instant white rice.  We want the rice to cook so, we are going to let this continue to boil for 5 minutes.  While we let the rice cook, let’s prepare our garnishes.  Small dice 1 tomato, remove stems from cilantro, remove seed from 1 avocado and slice.   I like to take lime juice and squeeze a little over the avocado slices, this helps preserve it’s vibrant green color.

Now it is time to assemble and eat!  Pour your soup in a bowl, top with cilantro, diced tomatoes, couple slices of avocado and on the very top your tortilla strips. 

Tortilla Soup
Servings: 6 – 8

64 ounces chicken broth
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. paprika
2 twists from salt grinder and 4 twists from pepper grinder
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ yellow onion, small dice
½ jalapeno, finely minced
4 corn tortillas, cut into strips
canola oil for frying
1 can yellow corn, drained
1 cup instant white rice
1 tomato, small dice
¼ bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 avocado, seed removed and sliced
1 lime

1.  Bring chicken broth to a boil and add cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.
2.  In separate pot, bring enough water to cover chicken breasts to a boil.
3.  Add breasts and boil until breasts are completely cooked, approximately 10 minutes.
4.  Finely mince garlic, add to boiling broth.
5.  Small dice onion, add to boiling broth.
6.  Finely mince jalapeno, add to boiling broth.
7.  When chicken is completely cooked, remove and set aside to cool.
8.  Cut 4 tortillas into strips.
9.  Using a large frying pan, heat enough canola oil to submerge tortilla strips. 
10.  Fry tortilla strips, remove when golden brown and lay on paper towel.
11.  Lightly season strips with salt and paprika.
12.  Shred chicken and lightly season with paprika.
13.  Add shredded chicken, corn and rice to boiling broth.
14.  Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
15.  Prepare the following garnishes: small dice 1 tomato, remove stems from cilantro, remove seed and cut avocado into slices (squeeze lime juice on sliced avocado).

Enjoy! From my kitchen to yours.

Tortilla Soup (photo by hzaida)

Tortilla Soup (photo by hzaida)