The calendar may say it's Spring but the weather outside is still late Winter here-- cold with snow-- seriously? This soup was the perfect fit into this week's menu to warm our souls. It is spicy and deep with flavor, but at the same time the broth is light without weighing you down.
There are a few steps in making this soup; roasting the chicken breasts, making the broth, and frying the tortilla strips. However, the end result is worth the time and very rewarding.
To the original recipe I add black beans, corn, and hominy to the broth to give the soup a little more body and flavor. I also roast the chicken instead of poaching it. Lastly, I add a few more herbs and spices to my liking. I like to garnish it with diced avocado, chopped cilantro, diced red onion, diced jalapeno, Cotija cheese, and Mexican crema, but you can use whatever garnish you prefer or have on hand. This is one crowd pleasing bowl of goodness to feed to your family and friends when it is cold outside, when it is raining, or really whenever you're feeling a bit fiesta-y. That's not a word. Here's the recipe.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
*any leftover broth can be refrigerated or frozen for another meal
1 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
Extra-Virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small white onion or half a large, diced
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 medium jalapeno chile, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
1 chipotle chile en adobo halved and seeded, more or less depending on your taste
up to 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce, more or less depending on your taste
handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon dired oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 cups of chicken broth
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15.5 ounce can of white hominy, drained
1 cup frozen corn
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 corn or flour tortillas, cut into 3/4-inch wide strips (I prefer the flour with this soup)
Vegetable oil for frying
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Red onion, diced
Jalapeno, seeded, ribs removed and finely diced
Mexican Crema or sour cream
Cotija cheese, crumbled or Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Place the chicken breast skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. Tent the chicken with foil and set aside to rest. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding skin and bones.
Place the onion, tomatoes, garlic, chipotle chile, jalapeno chile, 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce, cilantro, oregano and cumin in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Heat the canola oil in a large dutch oven over high heat; add the tomato purée and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently until the mixture has darkened in color and thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, black beans, hominy, corn, and shredded chicken and bring to a boil. Simmer until heated through. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper, and adobo sauce if needed.
While the soup is simmering, heat 1/2-inch of oil in a large fry pot to 350º F. Add a handful of the tortilla strips to the hot oil. Use metal tongs to keep them from sticking together. Fry until golden and crisp, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and immediately season with kosher salt. Continue with the remaining strips.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with tortilla strips, and garnish with the toppings of your choice. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from my mother, who adapted it from Cook's Illustrated March 2005