Chicken tortilla soup has been a staple go-to recipe for me since last year when I was abroad. I made it in Hawaii for dinner one night because it is so easy to prepare, and everyone loved it. The soup itself is flavorful and hearty without feeling heavy, and I love being able to top it all off with some of my favorite things, namely avocados and tortilla chips.
The recipe is very simple. First, chop 1 pepper (the original recipe called for green, but I use whatever I have on hand), 1 onion, and 3 cloves of garlic. I used frozen cubes of garlic that my mom found at Wegmans. They make mise en place preparations very easy.
Sautee the chopped pepper, onion and garlic in some oil over med-high heat. After a few minutes, add in 4 cups of chicken stock, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp each of cumin, chili powder, paprika, and garlic powder. The last time I made this I accidentally used cayenne pepper instead of paprika. The result was spicier, so if you want a spicier soup I’d use cayenne pepper, or maybe hotter chili powder.
Bring the soup to a simmer, add 2 chicken breasts, and simmer for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse and drain some black beans and corn.
After the 25 minutes of simmering, add in the corn and beans and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
While you are waiting, prepare your toppings. I like to slice cherry or grape tomatoes. They add just the right acidity to the mix. I also like to chop up some avocado pieces and grate some cheddar cheese. I think in the future I’d like to try this soup with the more creamy and crumbly queso fresco.
After the 10 minutes is up, remove the chicken breasts and shred them with two forks. Then, return the chicken to the soup.
Now comes the fun part. I like to prepare my bowls with some tortilla chips, tomatoes, avocados, and cheese in the bottom and then pour the soup on top, then top the soup with more of the same. My dad recently planted some cilantro plants, so we were lucky enough to enjoy our soup with fresh home-grown cilantro for both a colorful garnish and a flavorful accent.