I first posted this Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe in the summer of 2009. I have consistently made it since then, and over the years I have slightly modified the recipe to make it more simple and quick. This soup is a staple for us during the winter months, and I often immediately freeze half the batch so we can have it ready for a quick weeknight dinner. The soup itself is quite healthy - it's a tomato broth based soup unlike many of the creamy/cheesy restaurant versions of Chicken Tortilla Soup. The toppings are certainly not optional for us - they really elevate this meal to something amazing. As Baby Sister is due to join us two weeks from today (!!!), I feel more at ease knowing there's a container of this soup in my freezer :-)
Simplified Chicken Tortilla Soup
5 vine-ripened tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers (depending on your spice preference), ribs and seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
Crushed tortilla chips/tortilla strips (you can find these at the store near the croutons)
1 Roma tomato, diced
Chopped fresh cilantro
Shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, etc.)
Light sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350°.
1. Slice the tomatoes in half. Spread 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on a foil-lined baking sheet and arrange the tomatoes on top, skin side up. Drizzle the tomatoes with another 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Roast the tomatoes for 35 minutes, until the skins wrinkle and the tomatoes are slightly brown around the edges.
2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, 4-qt. soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper and sauté about 5 minutes, until the vegetables become soft. Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover, decrease the heat and simmer 10 - 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, place the chopped jalapeños, the canned tomatoes with their juices, and the roasted tomatoes (included all the juices and browned tomato bits) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree the jalapeño-tomato mixture about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to the soup and continue simmering, covered, about 30 – 60 minutes.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste along with the cooked shredded chicken. Simmer a few minutes until chicken is heated through.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top as desired and serve immediately.