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Tortilla soup warm comfort on cold day

  • Published Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, at 12:53 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, at 12:54 p.m.

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Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 8

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 quarts chicken broth

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste

6 (6-inch) tortillas

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional

Garnish: Sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, tortilla chips

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, jalapeno peppers to taste, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.

Cut the tortillas into strips and add them to the soup. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently. The tortillas will meld into the soup, thickening it.

Add the cooked chicken and cilantro. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with avocado, a dollop of sour cream and/or shredded cheese if desired.

Winter hit Kansas with a wallop – a layer of snow and record-breaking, frigid temperatures. Nothing chases the chill quicker than the wonderful aroma of a bubbling pot of soup emanating from the kitchen.

Delicious soups are easily made, and a homemade soup always tastes better than anything out of a can. Soup is forgiving – you can easily add a few vegetables hiding out in the fridge that need to be used. You can adjust the seasonings to your individual taste.

The soup recipe I have for you today is a zesty soup with aromatic vegetables, a lean protein and is liberally laced with the flavors of the Southwest. Although many of us may have overindulged during the holidays, Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup is basically a healthy soup as long as you don’t go overboard on the garnishes.

This soup can be put together rather quickly. To save time, I use cooked chicken. If you have leftover chicken, use it. If not, rotisserie chicken available in supermarkets is quite tasty. Often I will purchase one and use part for this recipe and the remainder for another meal.

Hope you will try this – a steaming bowl of soup is comforting, warming both the body and spirit.

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