feasting with friends

Chicken Tortilla Soup

tortilla5 There’s absolutely no denying it…

…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 soupThere are at least a dozen different soups and stew that are on my “soup season” rotation. I pretty much make soup/stew every weekend during the winter months.

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.

tortilla1Needless 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!

tortilla3A satisfying tortilla soup must have tortilla strips to garnish. Crispy tortilla strips. At least for me… for my taste buds.

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.

tortilla6tortilla2One 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

  • Servings: 12 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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…. :))


  1. Soup! What a wonderful set of flavours you’ve put in yours Nancy (and I’m glad there’s not quite as much spice as last year. Aaagh! Poor you! I hope you had yoghurt to hand?). Being weak and feeble in the heat-tolerance department, I shall be conservative with my peppery additions 😉

    • Yes…Soup!…That I could actually eat! So rewarding after my mishap last year. I made good use of yogurt and milk and ice cubes…what ever I could get my hands (mouth) on. It was much, much better this time. 🙂 For those timid of jalapeño heat, I do recommend starting small! Thanks, Trixie!

  2. Beautiful Nancy, this is definitely soupy/stewey/curry weather wouldn’t you say? Our temps hit 39 deg, it felt like a heat wave :). Your soup sounds good with that extra heat. Chipotle can be deadly can’t it? Still it would definitely kill those winter blahs.

    • Thank you, Lilli! Michigan has been blanketed in cold for weeks now. The last week has brought temps ranging from -20 degrees last Friday to a heat wave of about 21 degrees today…and those are actual air temps…feels much colder with the windchill! I assume you’re somewhere a smidgen warmer?

    • Thank you so much! Jalapeños are really tricky in determining the heat…I’m not real fond of the raw ones, so I try to avoid the taste test. But you’re right, a small nibble is worth it to avoid a major failure. 🙂

  3. I will not complain about the weather any more, I will not complain…. One good thing about the weather is we get to make all kinds of yummy soups/stews/chilis to warm us up! Your soup sounds delicious Nancy – too hot last year – did you add the seeds and ribs of your jalapenos? I never go hotter than those, like serranos or habaneros 🙂

    • Hah! The soups are certainly an upside to the cold! No, I didn’t add the seeds but I “tried” to get creative using chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. I think I overdid it with the adobe sauce…whoops! 😉

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