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Monday, July 13, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I think it's pretty obvious that I have a thing for soup. Even though I typically think of soup as cool weather fare, we had an unseasonably chilly start to the summer in Chicago, so soup was still on my mind. Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my favorites, and I'm always looking for new versions to try. 

About a month and a half ago, Bob and I went to Whole Foods to get some tomatoes for this soup, only to discover that it was closed down! Thankfully, we read the sign more closely indicating that they had moved locations. We followed the road to the new store and OH MY GOSH it's amazing!!!!!!!!  If anyone who reads this in in the Chicago area, have you been to the new Whole Foods in Lincoln Park???  WOW! We started by descending the escalator into the vibrantly colored produce section. Amazing. To the right of the produce is a bar where you can get drinks to sip while you shop (genius, right?). I don't need to go into all the details, but let's just say this store has it all and then some - complete with a wine bar in the center of the store which specializes in wine and cheese flights, and culminating in a ginormous gourmet food court and a bakery with an extensive, mouth-watering pastry selection. If you live near Chicago, you must go!

Anyway, I've always wanted to try jicama, but have never found it in our regular grocery store. The new Whole Foods not only labels each produce item with a sign stating the identity and country/region of origin, but it also tells you how to prepare it! I decided to buy some jicama and throw it in this soup.  

First of all, this soup is reallllllly delicious. Definitely the best tortilla soup I've made at home. We also really liked the addition of the jicama - it gave it a slight crunch. My opinion - don't skimp on the toppings here; they really do make it sooo good. Seriously, each component (tortilla chips, Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, fresh tomatoes, and fresh cilantro) add to the soup, and I couldn't bear eliminating even just one. 

The first time I made this soup, I baked the chicken and then shredded it. The second time, I put frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot on low with some water and a generous sprinkling of salt in the morning, then had easily shreddable chicken by the time we got home from work. A shredded rotisserie chicken would also be great. If you like Chicken Tortilla Soup, you'll love this recipe!
Chicken Tortilla Soup

5 vine-ripened tomatoes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 small jicama, julienned
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups chicken broth
2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded

(Not so) optional toppings:
Crushed tortilla chips
1 Roma/plum tomato, diced
Chopped fresh cilantro
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Light sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F. 
1. Slice the tomatoes in half. Spread 1 tablespoon of the oil oil on a foil-lined baking sheet and arrange the tomatoes on top, skin side up. Drizzle the tomatoes with another 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 35 minutes, until the skins wrinkle and the tomatoes are slightly brown around the edges.

2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, jicama, and bell pepper, and saute 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, 1 cup water, and half of the diced jalapenos. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover and decrease heat to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place the remaining jalapenos, the canned tomatoes with their juices and the roasted tomatoes (including as much as possible of the juices and browned tomato bits) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree the jalapeno-tomato mixture about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to the soup and continue simmering, covered, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Add salt and pepper to tasted, along with the cooked chicken. Allow to simmer a few more minutes, until the chicken is heated through.

6. Ladle soup into bowls. Top as desired and serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats


  1. Sounds delicious (and I am a big fan of mexican style soups) and your photo is gorgeous!

  2. mmmm.... chicken tortilla soup is my favorite soup too. love it!

  3. Yum, it looks great! I'm very jealous of your new whole foods - it sounds like a date destination for us :) I've never used jimaca at home, but it's on my list to try soon!

  4. I love soup anytime of the year. Glad you have a new whole foods!

  5. You have some great recipes! Glad I found your blog =)

  6. This looks great. I have my own standby tortilla soup recipe, but I really like the addition of the jicama so I'll have to try that next time! I haven't made it to the new WF yet, but I really need to check it out.

  7. This is one of my very favorite soups - yours looks terrific!

  8. I make tortilla soup often and yours looks amazing! Now I am craving some!

  9. This looks absolutely delicious. What a wonderful comforting bowl of soup. First time here.. you have a lovely blog!!

  10. Meghen, My daughter lives near the Lincoln Pk WF's, she just raves about it, when I visit her I'll check it out! You've been cooking up such good food here, Love tortilla soup, chicken gyro, and will try making my on taziki sauce. Usually I pick up some from TJ's thats already made, but you inspired me to make my own! Hope you're having a great summer. What's with this weather??? It's 68 in July!

  11. Made this yesterday and it was delicious. More steps than last CTS I made but worth it. There's enough time in the middle to cook your chicken if you don't do it in advance. I liked the consistency-more like I've had in a restaurant and w/o corn starch. Added a bit more chicken to satisfy the others eating it, ditched the jicama to keep my comparison more even. Recipe made enough for 4 people, but if you're hungry or have more diners, I highly recommend multiplying the quantities, especially if you want some leftovers. Thanks Meghan for sharing this, I expect to make it again this season.

  12. Thank you so much for your review! I love getting feedback. I'm so glad to hear you liked it. I agree that there are quite a bit more steps than other soups I've made, but it's well worth it. I've only used the jicama the one time too. I almost want to spend a day on the weekend making up multiple batches to freeze so it's on hand all the time :)

  13. Melissa Ginczycki-Chaffee2/13/11, 1:49 PM

    I made this the other night with my husband. While we did spend quite a bit of time prepping and waiting for the soup to simmer, it was well worth it! I did buy a rotisserie chicken at the store and used that rather than cooking my own, so that saved on time. I don't eat tomatoes and the amount of tomatoe in this soup worried me as we were making it, but I hardly noticed all the tomato while I was eating it.

    We used the jicama and I would probably dice it into smaller pices the next time we make this, rather than julienne it. We also added corn to our soup which made it really good, and I think next time we'll add black beans too!

    We'll definitely make this again!!!

  14. critical mistake - list the serving amount!!!


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