It’s raining here in Southern California! This doesn’t happen nearly often enough, and when it does I get so excited. I’m snuggled on the couch today with Henry, the dog, and the cats. I have all the doors and windows open so the house is super cold, and we’re snuggled in pjs and heavy blankets. I have been making this chicken tortilla soup about once a week lately to test the recipe, and I think I need to make it today.
I’ve recently realized that Soup is my favorite meal. It’s just so dang comforting! It’s been all about the chicken tortilla in this house lately, but I’m always up for a ridiculous pasta soup or cheesy potato soup. I also realized that Soup is pretty much the most difficult meal to eat while holding a baby. Henry now has several soup-stained onesies. Whoops.
Abby calls this taco soup, because it has all the same flavors as the tacos we make. Neither Abby nor Katie liked the fried tortilla strips in the soup, but they did enjoy the gobs of cheese I piled into each bowl. Also, they asked for straws so they could drink the broth? Weird, but whatever gets them finishing their dinners! The recipe below calls for cumin, but I ran out of cumin one day so left it out and the soup stood on its own without it. So you can leave it out, or use chili powder instead, or any other southwestern spice you love!
Most chicken tortilla soup recipes call for tomatoes, but I am allergic and the rest of my family doesn’t like tomatoes, so I used red bell peppers to maintain the color. I also blend the aromatics into the stock after cooking the chicken to preserve all those flavors as well as thicken the soup.
Serve tons of toppings on the side so everybody can customize their own bowl, and make sure you have plenty of fried corn tortilla strips to go around! Enjoy this chicken tortilla soup on a rainy day like today for some much needed warmth and comfort.
What are you favorite cold weather recipes?
Yields serves 6-8
- whole chicken (4-5 pounds)
- kosher or sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion
- 2 red bell peppers, divided
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can black beans
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Juice from 1 lime
- fried tortilla strips or crushed chips
- diced jalapeño
- sliced avocado
- fresh cilantro
- shredded cheese
- lime wedges
- hot sauce
- Place the chicken in a large 5-6 quart stock pot and season well with salt and black pepper.
- Roughly chop the onion, 1 red bell pepper, carrots, celery, and garlic cloves. Add to the chicken in the pot along with the bay leaves, and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 hours.
- Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the broth until smooth.
- Dice the remaining red bell pepper and add to the soup along with the black beans, corn, cumin, oregano, juice from 1 lime, and the shredded chicken. Taste the soup and add more salt and black pepper to taste.
- Simmer until the vegetables are fork tender and the soup is warmed through, about 20 minutes.
- Serve with desired accompaniments.