The amazing history of soup is probably as old as the very history of cooking and using fire to transform food into something more palatable, sensory and enjoyable. The careful task of combining matched ingredients and cooking them to create something nutritious, filling, digestible and easy to serve became a way of life for many when cooking was as complicated as always having the resources to get a fire started. Wow how it's easy to take our modern luxuries for granted!
Soups later then became specific recipes as much of food has become today although some of the best preparations that many still make today come by "winging it". So the carefree approach aside, here's a recipe that's stood the test of time and has only become better and better with the availability of better ingredients. Chicken tortilla soup is remarkably flavorful. It's full of textures and aromas that when partnered together make one satisfying bowl.
So on to the recipe! It's full of the best of all the flavors that make a really well made chicken tortilla soup taste as it should! Tomato, chicken, cumin, oregano, lime, chili and more. They are all incredibly delicious and what makes this soup so fun to eat are all the incredible toppings that make each bite a party in your mouth. Let's get started!
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 c. onion, small dice
- 2/3 c. cilantro, chopped (stems included)
- 3 ea cloves garlic, minced
- 4-5 c. chicken broth
- 14.5 ounce can, fire roasted tomatoes, diced
- 2 ea chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- ¾ T. ground cumin
- 1 T. chili powder
- 1 t. Mexican oregano, dried
- ¼ t. cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicier!)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 ea large carrots, peeled, sliced
- Salt to taste
- Garnishes: Monterey jack cheese, shredded, avocado, tortilla chips, lime wedges
In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high. Add onion, cilantro, and garlic. Cook for three minutes, stirring often to soften the onions. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, chicken breasts, and spices. Bring the mixture to a light simmer, careful not to reduce so as to not lose volume. Add carrots and very gently simmer on low until the chicken breasts are cooked, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and allow to cool slightly so it’s easy to handle. Shred the chicken when cool enough to handle and return to the pot of soup. Season the soup with salt to taste. Garnish the soup with as much jack cheese, chips, avocado and fresh lime as you like. The soup should have a slight lime flavor! If too much of the broth has evaporated, stir in an additional cup of broth or water as desired. Ladle into bowls and top with additional cheese, cilantro (if desired), avocado, chips and lime. Enjoy!
Adapted from: A Spicy Perspective