…it’s soup weather!
Soup is the most satisfying meal for me this time of year. Especially THIS year. I refuse to complain about the weather anymore… Instead, I will be grateful for shelter and heat. A warm bed and warm clothes. Gloves on my hands and boots on my feet. And warm, comforting food to fill me up. Especially food in the form of soup!
Tortilla is a favorite of mine. It’s been on the rotation for years. Except last year… I made it… but we couldn’t eat it… at all! Seems I got a little too rambunctious in the pepper department.
HOT pepper department… extremely hot pepper department! Yawza…it was inedible. Sure, we can have laughs about it now… but back then… my mouth suffered the consequences of one (ONE) taste test for days. Lesson learned! Less is more.
Needless to say, I never did whip up another batch last winter. I couldn’t. My “injury” was too fresh in my mind. What a difference a year makes though. I actually forgot about my stumble in the tortilla soup arena. At least until I started making this batch…
… the simmering tomatoes, the cumin, the jalapeno… THAT’S when I remembered! The yellow flag flashed before my eyes! Ahhh, thank goodness that caution flag showed up!
I’ve made the tortilla strips many different ways over the years. I’ve deep fried them. I’ve pan fried them. I’ve oven fried them. I’ve used flour tortillas. I’ve used corn tortillas. I’ve seasoned them. I’ve left them alone.
My favorite method, by far, is oven “frying” corn tortillas. And it’s easy! All you have to do is cut a stack of tortillas in strips (1/2-inch by 3-inches is good), place them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, spritz the top of the strips with the spray and season to your liking. Cayenne is a nice touch, unless you too have pttsmd (post traumatic tortilla soup memory disorder). 😉 If so, follow my lead, and season the strips with salt, pepper and a bit of cumin…delicious.
One last thing… The soup can be served somewhat “chunky” with bits of diced onion, tomato and jalapeno floating throughout… OR… it can be pureed using an immersion blender or (carefully pureeing) in a regular blender. The choice is yours… I’ll take pureed, please!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely diced (about 2 Tablespoons)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups chicken stock/broth (homemade or low-sodium canned)
2 Tablespoons lime juice (fresh squeezed)
2 14½ ounce cans diced tomatoes
1½ cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup corn kernels
Optional for garnish: tortilla strips (see above), grated cheese, avocado chunks, chopped cilantro, additional chopped jalapeno.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and jalapeno pepper. Saute until soft, and the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic; cook additional minute or so until fragrant.
- Add the dry seasonings (chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, salt and pepper). Stir to combine.
- Add the chicken stock/broth, diced tomatoes (undrained) and lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to allow a soft simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or so.
- If pureeing the soup, do so now. Add the chicken and corn kernels. (Black beans would be a nice addition, though I was fresh out!)
- Simmer additional 15 minutes or so, or until chicken is heated through. Serve with optional garnishes to your liking. Don’t forget the tortilla strips…. :))