Mexican Chicken Soup
A lot of you may have noticed that I have a fetish for soups. I just think they are the perfect lunch solution. They are a great way to get in extra veggies and they usually have everything you need in one bowl, eliminating the need for sides. And for the most part, soups are fairly simple to put together. Unless they are a Cooks Illustrated soup, which is a whole ‘nother story… but! THIS soup is from Ina Garten whom I just love. Have you ever noticed that almost all her recipes on Food Network are rated 4 or 5 stars? There is a reason for that and it’s because she is awesome. This soup is no different- a total winner.
This soup is essentially a very basic chicken noodle soup, but with Mexican flavors and tortilla strips in place of the noodles. And WOW, is it good! As per usual, Ina managed to balance out the flavors perfectly and make a delicious soup. The only issue I had with it was her instruction to put the tortilla strips in for the 25-minute simmer. I didn’t like what this did to them- it essentially caused them to break down so that they were virtually non-existent when you went to eat the soup. I ended up adding the remaining 4 tortillas I had in my package at the end of the summer to get some of that texture back. The only thing I can think of to reason this out is that she wanted to thicken the soup a little bit and maybe add some flavor. So I would recommend maybe waiting until the last 10 minutes of the simmer to add them and honestly, it would hurt to add more than 6, I thought they were a great element to the soup.
Also, you can easily make this soup vegetarian by opting out of the chicken and adding some black beans, chopped red bell peppers, etc.
And don’t forget to garnish! This soup is begging for toppings. Go ahead and use some sour cream, avocado, grated cheddar, broken tortilla chips- whatever floats your boat!
Mexican Chicken Soup
- 4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
- 1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
- 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 2½ quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
- 2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- ¼ to ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
- 6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
- For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in ½, then cut them crosswise into ½-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.