January is soup month and a great reason for those of who live in colder climates like us (think Canada cold) to eat more soup. A healthy and hearty offering, this Chicken Tortilla Soup came together quickly on a Friday night, topped with delicious crisp tortilla strips that my kids could not stop eating out of the bowl, fresh avocado and grated old cheddar cheese. I may be a little bias but it was so delicious. Even my daughter filled her bowl twice.
Our goal this month is to re-make and/or recreate some of our soup recipes, while adding more to our stash of comfort foods. With so many amazing and healthy soups out there, it’s a good way to perhaps be a little healthier.
As you read through the recipe deciding whether or not you have the ingredients to make the soup, you will notice a spice called Epazote. Epazote is an herb used in Mexican cooking to flavour moles, soups, and other dishes. It is popular cooked with beans and said to help relieve some of the bean causing “symptoms” we all know so well. This herb is known to have a pungent, petroleum-like odor. Like cilantro you either like it or you don’t, there is no in-between. People describe the taste to be like a curious combination of turpentine, mint, citrus, pine, oregano, anise, and mustard greens.
We tasted the soup before we added in the Epazote and again after. There was no turpentine smell or taste but there was a slightly noticeable flavour enhancer we picked up on. We have been told not to use to much of this herb as it could over power the dish. A few light pinches in our soup equaling about 1/4 tsp is what we started with.
What’s great about this soup:
- use a store bought rotisserie chicken
- substitute regular dried oregano for Mexican oregano
- no epazote, no problem
- do not care for cilantro, use flat leaf parsley instead
- like it spicy? add more of the chipotle in adobo, carefully
- sub in leftover turkey, for the chicken
- the crunchy tortillas added to the top of the soup, stay crunchy – no soggy bits unless kept in soup overnight
- pressed for time, simmer away for 30 minutes and you will be good to go
We highly recommend you give this tasty soup a try. It got four thumbs up here.
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 6 corn tortillas cut into thin slice
- 1 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 tsp chipotle in adobo
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 springs cilantro + more for garnish
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup black beans drained + more for garnish
- 1/4 tsp epazote
- Garnishes: 1/2 avocado diced cilantro leaves, diced bell pepper, diced jalapeno pepper, grated cheddar cheese or monterey jack cheese, black beans, 1 lime cut into wedges
- In a cast iron pan or heavy bottom pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 of the tortilla strips and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 1-2 minutes. Stir once or twice with tongs or slotted spoon while cooking to avoid sticking. Remove and drain on paper towel lined plate or bowl. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.
- In a second large pot add some oil and cook onions over medium-high heat. Cook onions 5-8 minutes. Add garlic cooking another minute. Sprinkle in chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, oregano, sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let cook for 1-2 minutes. Move onions to side and add tomato paste and chipotle in adobo cooking another minute.
- Next in the pot is tomatoes, broth and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes; add cilantro sprigs and epazote cooking an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender puree soup. Put back on heat, add corn, black beans and chicken. Bring to a simmer and let cook 1-2 minutes to heat everything through.
- To serve put your garnishes into individual bowls including the tortillas. Ladle the soup into bowls. Let everyone top their soup with their favourite garnishes and eat while steaming hot.
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