Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Recipe Review: Hearty Mexican soup that is a full meal in a bowl- Thumbs up all around, spices can be adjusted to make the soup mild or hot

I needed something to make that was a departure from heavy traditional Thanksgiving food. Also I needed something quick to throw together on a work night. This soup is incredibly easy to make (the only cooking skills needed are the ability to chop up an onion, and open cans) and it tastes really good without having any "heavy" ingredients.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
adapted from

1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 medium can enchilada sauce (I prefer Las Palmas brand)
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
3/4 c brown rice
6 cups chicken broth
2 chicken breasts
2 bay leaves
1 large handful chopped fresh cilantro
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
salt & pepper
hot sauce
1 small avocado
1 lime

Saute onion, jalapeno, and garlic in olive oil until onions are tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Remove chicken breasts and shred with a fork, then return to the pot. Ladle into bowls and garnish with avocado and lime wedges.

yield: 8 servings
printable recipe

Ok so the trick question is where are the tortillas? I since I put brown rice in the soup I've never really felt the need to put tortilla strips on top. The brown rice and shredded chicken combo tend to make a really thick more stew like soup. If you prefer a more traditional "soup" just leave out or cut down the rice. Also the ingredients tend to absorb a lot of the liquid if you refrigerate leftovers, so I'll sometimes add more chicken stock when reheating. The flavors of this soup really depend on the brand of enchilada sauce, and hot sauce that you choose, so make sure that you use ones that you like. I like Tapatio brand hot sauce. I've actually developed a bit of a hot sauce addiction since I moved to Southern California. I hate when a restaurant has Tabasco and not Tapatio or something similar. Tabasco is weird and watery and I don't like it at all. Recently I've taken to carrying little packets of Tapatio around in my purse, just in case I need hot sauce. So that's a little neurotic but I like my hot sauce! I also loveeee how in So Cal you can avocado on everything, and I like to exercise that option whenever possible. Just as I typed this I had the idea of eating avocado on tortilla chips with hot sauce. yummmmm.

hi avocado- I love you

Tonight I'm headed to Balboa Park for the annual December Nights festival. Its a San Diego tradition that I've always wanted to go to but I've never actually been able to make it. Finally I get to go! The park is all decorated with Christmas lights, there are carolers and performers, and all the museums are open late, and free! The best part though is all the food. There are the typical street vendors for food, and also there is a tradition where they serve holiday food from around the world in the International cottages that are in the park. There is also an International beer and spirits garden where they have drinks from all over the world too- Ireland is serving Irish coffee, Finland is serving hot spiced wine, Mexico is serving tequila shots, you get the picture. (Guess where I'll be hanging out??)  

Top Chef All Stars started up this week. I used to be an avid top chef watcher, but haven't tuned in a few seasons. I'm excited for all stars since I already know most of the cast. I'm sad that Sam from Season 2 and Brian from Season 3 aren't in the cast, but oh well. Marcel is back and Anthony Bourdain is a judge! Side note- my dad and I ate at the Oceanaire a few years back when Brian was still the executive chef (he has since gone on to open Searsucker). The food was incredible- I highly recommend it if you are ever in San Diego.

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